THE family of Stourport teenager Amy Carter – who died on Christmas Eve within days of being discharged from hospital – have spoken of their fears the tragedy could be repeated.
Richard and Jacqueline Carter spoke out after agreeing an undisclosed out-of-court settlement from Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust following the death of their 15-year-old daughter just three days after she was discharged from Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Worcester, on December 21, 2009, with a diagnosis of glandular fever. She then developed a fatal infection, which caused her death.
Despite the settlement, the couple, of Santa Maria Way, Stourport, say they remain frustrated the trust did not accept full responsibility for what happened and that the family had not yet received a formal apology. They believe more could have been done to save her life.
They took legal action after the July, 2010, inquest into Amy’s death, which concluded the former Stourport High School and VIth Form Centre pupil died of natural causes.
Medical evidence gathered by lawyers at firm Irwin Mitchell, however, concluded Amy should not have been discharged at that time and, had she remained in hospital, she would have survived.
Trust chief executive Penny Venables said she sympathised with the family and was glad the legal claim had now been resolved, adding an investigation carried out following Amy’s death – shared with the family – showed the teenager had received appropriate care.
Mr Carter said he hoped lessons would be learned from the case, adding: “We have been fighting for justice for Amy ever since she died and the settlement from the trust marks the end of a long legal battle.
"We are bitterly disappointed, however, they didn’t fully accept any responsibility for what happened to our daughter and were unable to provide us with any detailed explanation of what went wrong.
“Without this, the reality is we have no faith that the same tragedy can never be repeated.”
Mr and Mrs Carter said they believed hospitals had a “tick box” culture. Mrs Carter said: “The care has gone out of it. You are in, they assess you and get you out and on to the next one – they do not have time to really assess you properly.
“There should be a system where you get a second opinion.”
Life goes on for Amy’s "devastated" family – page 2 She added: “We have been on such a long journey, it has been so hard. As far as I am aware there is nothing else we can do - we have got to a point where the best we can do is make people aware of it and get back to some normality. We are doing as much as we can to make others aware of it. I hope we have done Amy proud.”
Thomas Riis-Bristow, the family’s lawyer, said: “The family is disappointed the trust has made no formal admission of liability, despite accepting if Amy had not been discharged she would have survived.”
He told The Shuttle family members had suffered psychological injury and received compensation for rehabilitation and treatment.
Mrs Venables added: “All of those involved in Amy’s care were extremely saddened to learn of her death and we extend our greatest sympathies to her family.”