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Schoolgirl died hours after doctors sent her home with constipation diagnosis

In Europe
June 11, 2024

An 11-year-old girl died hours after doctors diagnosed her with constipation and sent her home from hospital, an inquest will hear this week.

The parents of Annabel Greenhalgh, who died in 2022, say they hope the hearing will resolve the “unanswered questions” they have about their tragic loss.

Annabel was taken to the A&E department of Warwick Hospital by her parents, Craig and Josie, after complaining of abdominal pain.

Doctors said she had constipation and discharged her on the evening of Oct 13, 2022.

The next morning, Mr Greenhalgh found Annabel unresponsive at their home in Warwick and dialled 999. Despite paramedics’ attempts to resuscitate her, she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Between 2017 and 2021, Annabel had experienced multiple episodes of severe abdominal pain and had required hospital treatment on several occasions.

The inquest into the schoolgirl’s death will start on Friday at Coventry Coroner’s Court.

Warwick Hospital

Warwick Hospital, where Annabel was seen just hours before she died – SWNS

As they prepare for the hearing, Mr and Mrs Greenhalgh, who have instructed medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the death, have spoken of the “gaping hole” Annabel’s death has left in their lives.

Mrs Greenhalgh, 45, said: “Annabel was an incredible child and loved by all who met her.

“She was gentle, phenomenally bright, creative, fun and always inclusive of everyone.

“She absolutely loved her music, her fashion, her art, her friends, and her beloved cat Reuben.

“She was our greatest gift and brought so much love, joy and happiness to our lives.

“Since losing her, much of our days have been filled with distress, emptiness and sorrow.”

Annabel had just started Alcester Grammar School before her death and was described as “well-loved” by teachers and pupils.

Her parents hope the inquest will answer crucial questions about her treatment before she died. Mr Greenhalgh said: “When we were told we could take Annabel home from hospital, we trusted that there was nothing serious going on.

“To wake up the next morning and find her unresponsive was absolutely devastating and something we still struggle to comprehend.

“Every day since then, we’ve wondered if more could have been done to save our little girl.

“She was our only child and we still have so many unanswered questions about what happened to her.

“We know that hearing everything again at the inquest will be incredibly difficult, but it’s something we need to do to honour our daughter and get the answers we’ve been seeking for more than 18 months.

“Since losing Annabel, there’s been a gaping hole in our lives and we wouldn’t wish what we’ve suffered on anyone.

“She had just started secondary school and had her whole life ahead of her. Words cannot truly express how much we miss her.”

Emma Rush, the family’s solicitor, said: “Josie and Craig understandably remain devastated at losing their little girl so suddenly and tragically.

“They also continue to have a number of questions over what happened to her.

“While nothing can bring Annabel back, the inquest is a major milestone in being able to provide her family with the answers they deserve.

“If, during the course of the inquest any issues in the care provided to Annabel are identified, it’s vital that lessons are learned to improve patient safety.”

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