Alice Sloman: Condition missed by doctors led to death

Alice Sloman
Image caption Alice Sloman died three days after an MRI scan at Torbay Hospital

Doctors could have prevented a 14-year-old girl suffering a fatal heart attack after an MRI if they had diagnosed her earlier, a coroner has ruled.

Alice Sloman, who had an undiagnosed genetic condition, died days after the scan at Torbay Hospital last year.

Avon coroner Dr Simon Fox said the decision not to seek further guidance on her genetic condition led to her "dying unexpectedly and prematurely".

He said the cause of death was because her "medical management was lacking".

Alice, from Torquay, was under the care of hormone specialists from Bristol Children's Hospital, and had a condition which made her heart more than twice as big as it should have been which put her in danger when anaesthetised.

Image caption Alice had an undiagnosed genetic condition

She was given an anaesthetic before the scan in October 2018 after becoming "extremely anxious" and "hypersensitive".

Throughout her life she had been prescribed growth hormone, but her parents and doctors did not know the reason for her shortness.

Her parents said they had repeatedly warned doctors they were concerned about a range of symptoms, including breathlessness.

Earlier in the inquest two consultant paediatricians said they were not aware Alice suffered from breathlessness and tired easily.

The coroner said four medical causes contributed to her death - mitochondrial disease, multiple organ failure, myocardial fibrosis and heart failure during the anaesthetic.

Returning a narrative verdict, Dr Fox said Alice had been seen by a range of specialists over a nine-year period for her different conditions.

"But she was not referred to investigation of an underlying disorder, specifically a clinical geneticist's opinion, despite her parents requesting this on at least two separate occasions which are documented and despite such facility being readily available in Exeter," he said.

"The evidence demonstrated that as a result her underlying condition, and specifically a serious cardiomyopathy, went undiagnosed resulting in her dying unexpectedly and prematurely as a result of a routine general anaesthetic."

Image caption Alice's parents Sarah and Nathan Sloman spent £25,000 to cover the legal costs of the inquest

Following Alice's death, both Torbay and Bristol Children's Hospital have assisted with an independent investigation into improving shared care for similar patients.

Her parents Sarah and Nathan Sloman spent £25,000 to cover the legal costs of the inquest.

Speaking after the inquest, they said they felt "validated" by the coroner's finding and said it proved that Alice's medical care had been "severely lacking".

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