‘Vibrant and talented’ girl’s tragic death

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A WIGAN schoolgirl who had almost won her battle with leukaemia died following an unpredictable, but recognised complication.

Lucy Martha Davies was in the final stages of her chemotherapy treatment for Acute Lymphocytic Leukaemia (ALL) but was rushed to Wigan Infirmary on the morning of July 25 with a high temperature.

The 12-year-old from Ince was also suffering from diarrhoea and became unconscious in the ambulance.

Despite numerous attempts to resuscitate her, she died at the hospital.

A post-mortem revealed she died of e coli sepsis, which was caused by neutropenia (a low level of neutrophil white blood cells), as a result of ALL, which was being treated.

Area coroner Alan Walsh recorded a narrative conclusion. He said: “Lucy died following a recognised complication chemotherapy which was necessary to treat ALL in the background of a naturally occurring disease. Chemotherapy was needed to treat the leukaemia, otherwise, she was likely to have died.”

The former St Patrick’s Primary School pupil who was in her first year at St John Fisher High, had seen doctors at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital (RMCH) two days earlier after feeling unwell.

Dr Hannah Spiers, who was not her usual doctor, checked her neutrophil, platelet and white blood cell counts, and they were deemed normal enough for chemotherapy to continue. A diagnosis of viral gastroenteritis was given.

Her parents, Suzanne and Christopher Davies, questioned whether their daughter should have been given antibiotics, but medical experts said that Dr Spiers had followed national guidelines.

Lucy’s usual consultant, Prof Robert Wynn, said: “Dr Spiers made a judgement based on what was presented to her - the neutrophils, which were normal.

“If it was known she had e coli sepsis, she would have been treated with antibiotics and would not have died. I understand the family is looking for an opportunity which was missed, but there was not.”

Lucy’s mum, Suzanne, told the inquest, held in Bolton, that she had been a healthy child until she complained of feeling dizzy in May 2012. She was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of ALL a month later.

After six months of intensive chemotherapy she was declared in remission.

Suzanne said: “Lucy was well liked and had many friends.

“She enjoyed many activities, including cheerleading, horse riding and swimming. One of the last things she did was write a book which she was very proud of.”

Mr Walsh concluded: “Lucy was a very vibrant and talented child who was well loved.

“It was a testament to her strength that Lucy came through her leukaemia against the odds.

“I am satisfied that Dr Spiers acted within protocols and neutrophils were at the normal levels so the chemotherapy was continued.”