Woman dies after she’s sent home by Royal London A&E without doctor seeing her

22:20 24 May 2012

The death of a 20-year-old women who went to hospital in east London feeling ill could have been avoided had she been seen by a doctor, a coroner has ruled.

Kajsa Karlsson complained of coughing and flu-like symptoms when she walked into the A&E department at the Royal London in Whitechapel—but was sent home without a doctor examining her.

She was found dead at her home in Bow four days later with pneumonia and complications with fluid pressure on her lungs.

Her parents arrived from Sweden for the two-hour inquest at Poplar Coroner’s Court today, where pathologist Prof Michael Sheaff gave cause of death as empyema and bilateral lower lobar pneumonia.

Coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe said: “It is more likely than not that had further tests been undertaken and an examination made by a doctor, she would have received antibiotics and been monitored more closely over the following week and her death avoided.”

A narrative verdict was recorded which stated that Kajsa attended the A&E on February 28 and was assessed and discharged without seeing a doctor—then found dead at her home on Saturday, March 3.

An internal hospital investigation had been carried out by A&E consultant Ian Morrison, who gave details to the hearing. Statements were also made by charge nurse Geoffrey Bellhouse, urgent care nurse Suhaila Khamfar-Sookhan and London Ambulance officer Benjamin Murtagh.

Kajsa’s father Peter Karlsson and her partner Pawel Jaison also made statements to the court.

The hospital NHS trust said tonight in a statement to the Advertiser: “Barts Health has offered our deepest sympathies to Miss Karlsson’s family and assured them that lessons have been learnt as a result of this tragedy.

“A full internal investigation was carried out following her death and urgent measures were taken so that the discharge of patients from A&E is now only undertaken by Advanced Nurse practitioners or doctors.”

Empyema is usually caused by an infection that spreads from the lungs. It leads to a build-up of fluid in the pleural space that puts pressure on the lungs, causing bacterial pneumonia. Symptoms include chest pain, dry cough, sweating, fever and chills, as well as general discomfort, shortage of breath and weight loss.

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