Girl Dies After Doctors Miss Common Diagnosis

| by John Freund
Bridget KlingbergBridget Klingberg

A 10-year-old Australian girl has died after doctors failed to properly diagnose her medical condition. 

Bridget Klingberg took her daughter, Briony, to doctors in Adelaide Hills, Australia, after the girl became feverish and complained of a pain in her throat, according to the Daily Mail.  

"She didn't [drink] her tea," said Klingberg, "Briony loved her food so we knew she wasn't well."  

Klingberg claims she took her daughter to several doctors, but never once received the proper diagnosis.  

Her parents first took Briony to a general practitioner (GP) after she started vomiting and had trouble swallowing.  She was diagnosed with a throat infection and prescribed antibiotics.  

When her condition worsened, Briony was taken to the Women's and Children Hospital in Adelaide, where doctors there detected ulcers on her throat.  She was sent home an hour later and was seen by another GP the next day.  That doctor prescribed her steroids to help reduce the swelling in her throat.  

Briony went back to the hospital to take blood tests from yet another GP, but awoke the following day unable to pass urine. Klingberg took Briony back to the Women's and Children's Hospital, but the little girl reportedly had a seizure in the parking lot and died.  

The girl's death has been ruled the result of organ failure due to herpes simplex virus, which was the cause of all of her symptoms in the first place.  

"We never went home with a diagnosis, it was all a guess," Klingberg said.  "Everyone kept sending us home so we thought she couldn't be that sick." 

Klingberg added that "if there was a view or a concern even that she needed to stay, we would have chosen to stay.  You trust that if she's sick enough, they would say she needs to stay in." 

According to ABC News, Dr Alice Rogers, a junior doctor, saw Briony at the Women's and Children's Hospital and thought the girl's throat looked unusual and that the ulcers warranted admittance to a hospital unit for a short stay.  Rogers then consulted with a senior physician on site.  

"I remember finding the appearance of Briony's throat to be particularly unusual and I wanted him to look at it with me because I hadn't seen anything similar before," Rogers said.  

 Unfortunately, a senior at the hospital, Dr. Davinder Gill, overrode Rogers' concerns and stated that Briony was well enough to go home.

Klingberg now mourns the loss of her daughter, and wonders what could have been.  "I didn't want to re-present down there with the same things they sent us home for.  I felt I couldn't really go back because they said bring her back if she gets worse… she wasn't necessarily getting worse, she just wasn't getting better."

Sources: Daily Mail, ABC News / Photo credit: Adelaide Now

Are doctors responsible for Briony's death?
Yes - 94%
Yes - 6%