Devon girl Keira Darkes, six, died from rare stroke

A six-year-old Devon girl died days after her parents were told she was only suffering from a stomach bug by hospital doctors, an inquest heard.

Keira Darkes, from Plympton, died at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth on 18 October 2009.

Plymouth coroner Ian Arrow recorded a narrative verdict on her death from a dural venous thrombosis, a rare form of stroke.

The inquest heard that Keira had been suffering from chicken pox.

Her parents took her to their family doctor on 12 October because she was vomiting.

He referred her to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth where she was diagnosed with gastritis and sent home with some rehydration pills.

However, her condition deteriorated and five days later she was brought back to hospital where she died the following day.

A pathologist told the inquest at the city council chambers that tests showed a massive swelling in her brain which could have been caused by the chicken pox.

'Incredibly sad'

Plymouth coroner Ian Arrow said: "Keira died from a dural venous thrombosis which was a naturally occurring condition.

"On the balance of probabilities she experienced addition risk factors as a result of chicken pox and dehydration prior to her death.

"This appears to be a very rare death. Fortunately deaths in the middle years of childhood are extremely rare, which makes this all the more sad."

Consultant paediatrician Professor Peter Fleming said the emergency treatment given to Keira on her final visit to hospital was flawless.

He said better checks could have been carried out when she was seen and discharged.

He had only seen two other cases in 40 years of treating sick children.

A spokesperson from Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "The loss of a child is so incredibly sad.

"We would like to express our sincerest condolences to the parents and the family of Keira."

Keira's parents Stephen, 42, and Sian, 30, declined to comment after the inquest.

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