Aimee, of Glenbrook, Old Singland Road, Limerick, went into cardiac arrest on July 10, 2014, as she was being prepared for transfer to Crumlin Children’s Hospital. Aimee, the youngest of three children, suffered 17 seizures before her admission the previous day, and was being transferred to Dublin for a paediatric cardio echo.
Following a previous admission to University Hospital Limerick in March 2014 with febrile convulsions caused by tonsillitis Aimee had a chest X-ray. On examining the X-ray consultant radiologist Padraig O’Brien said he was suspicious of a septal defect, more commonly known as a hole, between the chambers of the heart. In her evidence paediatric consultant Annemarie Murphy said she found the X-ray to be normal. She said a multidisciplinary team who reviewed the X-ray over three weeks later also found it to be normal.
She admitted under cross examination by the family’s solicitor Jerry Twomey that there was no cardiologist present for the review. And while there was a consultant radiologist present, Dr O’Brien was not present or consulted about his suspicions, the inquest heard.
Dr Murphy told the inquest there are no paediatric cardiologists working in hospitals outside of Crumlin. She said that children can wait up to two years to see a paediatric cardiologist, however Aimee Keogh became an urgent case when she presented on July 9 and her condition had deteriorated, and seizures had become more frequent and not related to any underlying illness.
The inquest also heard from consultant paediatric neurologist Elizabeth O’Mahoney who saw Aimee privately in June. She concluded her neurological examination was normal and the source of the seizures were not coming from the brain and other possible causes must be considered including cardiac and ear nose and throat. She outlined her concerns to Dr Murphy who said she would be seeing Aimee at her review clinic the following month.
Limerick Coroner’s Court heard Aimee was referred as an urgent case to Crumlin but went into cardiac arrest as her ambulance was preparing to leave and efforts to resuscitate her failed.
Retired paediatric pathologist Peter Kelehan said an autopsy found a large cardiac defect which amounted to a large hole between all four chambers of Aimee’s heart. He concluded that death was caused by an undiagnosed major congenital cardiac disease.
Coroner Dr Tony Casey returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.
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