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3 October 2012, 16:33
An inquest into the death of a 2 year old who had wrongly been diagnosed with swine flu when she actually had meningitis, has concluded she was failed by emergency services.
Georgia Keeling died from a meningitis-like infection following the incorrect diagnosis at the height of the 2009 national pandemic.
The inquest in Norwich heard that paramedic Patricia Perfect had examined her at home but sent an ambulance away because it was "another case of swine flu".
Four hours later, following a second 999 call, the toddler was rushed to hospital where she died.
Returning a narrative verdict, Norfolk coroner William Armstrong ruled Georgia died following an "erroneous diagnosis" and the fact she was not immediately admitted to hospital reduced her chances of survival and contributed to her death. He said: "She died from a condition that was previously undiagnosed and the examination by Miss Perfect was inadequate and deficient and there was a failure to recognise the severity of her condition. Is it possible Miss Perfect was over-influenced by the fact there was at the time a prevalence of swine flu?.
"There is no doubt at all that Georgia should have been sent to hospital immediately and she would have had a better chance of survival.''
He added that the East of England Ambulance Trust had already taken action to reduce the likelihood of future tragedies.
Earlier in the hearing it was suggested Georgia's death on August 4, 2009 was the result of meningitis. Pathologist Xenia Tyler said a post-mortem showed she died from a group A streptococcal infection, a rare form of blood poisoning which can develop into meningitis.