Health authority regrets ‘tragic’ nut allergy death

by Ray Philp

A health authority has expressed their “deepest sympathies” for the family of a 9 year old daughter who died of anaphylactic shock shortly after a GP had failed to prescribe a device that could have saved her life.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde were implicated in a report published by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman that criticised the lack of clear guidance regarding the prescription of adrenaline auto injector pens, or EpiPens.

An EpiPen might have saved Miss C. Photo: D Walsh

Miss C, who had a peanut allergy and asthma, died of anaphylactic shock during a family day out in Edinburgh.

A subsequent complaint made by the family against the GP was upheld by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman. Despite receiving advice from specialists at Yorkhill Hospital on Miss C’s condition, the GP had not followed up recommendations from the hospital’s dermatology department. The GP has been ordered to apologise to the family.

SPSO ombudsman Jim Martin said that “it was quite clear that the young girl had a serious allergy. The GP had a duty to make sure the parents were aware of the consequences of not going to the clinic, and that the issuing of an EpiPen would have been the safe thing to do.

“What I’ve asked the Scottish Government to do is to see whether a protocol can be established which would apply across the whole of the health service. The protocol should include [guidance on] when GPs are expected to issue drugs or EpiPens.”

For an extended interview with SPSO ombudsman, listen here: