14/08/2014 12:56 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Girl, Nine, 'Sent Home To Die' On Christmas Day

National News

A nine-year-old girl collapsed in her father's arms and died on Christmas Day after she was wrongly sent home from hospital.

Rhianna Rawding died seven hours after she was discharged by a junior doctor who should have kept her in for observation.

An inquest heard he correctly diagnosed that Rhianna, who had half her left kidney removed in a previous operation, had a urinary tract infection.

But a few hours after he sent Rhianna home, she woke up cold and shivering.

Her dad, Justin, told the hearing: "We wanted to run her a bath but as I carried her upstairs she had changed colour and stopped breathing."

They took her back to hospital where she died on Christmas morning from septicaemia.

Rhianna had battled with kidney problems and infections for much of her life. She was complaining of headaches for several days before her parents took her to Lewisham Hospital, south-east London, late on Christmas Eve last year.

Her dad said: "She was taking very shallow breaths and sometimes we had to remind her to breathe."

The junior doctor, James Conner, who had only worked in the department for a month, said her chest was clear and she was moving her arms normally.

However, hospital consultant Dr Tina Sajjanhar admitted she would have kept her in.

She told the inquest: "I think it is very difficult to disagree with the father's view that Rhianna should have been kept in for observation."

Recording a narrative verdict, Southwark coroner Dr Phillip Barlow said: "If she had been kept in the signs of deterioration would have been more apparent by Christmas morning and could have been acted upon but I can't say that would have made a difference to the outcome."

Rhianna's family are considering taking further legal action.

After the hearing, her parents said they believed she would still be alive if she had not been sent home from hospital.

Her dad said: "On a personal level I feel she was let down by the hospital."

Her mother, Gemma, said: "Bereavement is never easy for anyone but when it's your child it's very hard."

A statement issued by Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, said: "We offer our sincere condolences to Mr and Mrs Rawding for the tragic death of their daughter Rhianna.

"We will be examining the outcome of the inquest in detail before commenting further.

"At this difficult time our thoughts are with Rhianna's family."