7th February 2020
Claire Page, the mother of a 5-year-old schoolgirl who died after collapsing in her school playground having suffered a cardiac arrest, has been campaigning to raise awareness, and encouraging schools to have life-saving defibrillators. This has included donating defibrillators herself, through funds raised by charity.
Lilly-May Page-Bowden collapsed in her school playground, in Woodley, on 15 May 2014. She was given CPR by two mothers in the playground, who both happened to be experienced nurses, until Paramedics arrived on scene, followed shortly afterwards by an Air Ambulance.
The first paramedic on scene wrongly thought Lilly-May had a non-shockable rhythm, so took the decision not to use a defibrillator. The same decision was taken by the Air Ambulance crew.
Lilly-May was then taken to the Royal Berkshire Hospital, where a defibrillator was subsequently used. However, at this point it was too late, and Lilly-May could not be saved.
A subsequent review by an Accident and Emergency Consultant of the original cardiac rhythm strip suggested that it did show a shockable rhythm.
An inquest into the circumstances surrounding Lilly-May’s death was held at Reading Town Hall in November 2016 and concluded in February 2017. Her family were represented at the hearing by Hayley Emmerson of Lamb Brooks LLP and Dr David Thomas, Barrister of Queen Square Chambers. Following the inquest, Lamb Brooks LLP successfully pursued a negligence claim against South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust.
Genetic testing following Lilly-May’s death found that she had an undiagnosed heart condition called Catecholaminergic Polymorphic Ventricular Tachycardia (CPVT), which caused her to suffer the cardiac arrest. Peter Bedford, Senior Coroner for Berkshire concluded there was a missed opportunity to defibrillate Lilly-May promptly at the scene of her collapse, which was the only realistic chance of restoring her heart rhythm. A shock would more likely than not, have saved Lilly-May’s life.
An independent Consultant Paramedic gave evidence at the inquest and advised that the treating paramedics did not act in accordance with the guidelines from the Resuscitation Council, and failure to shock, in his view, was a serious error, among other failings.
Mr Bedford recorded that Lilly-May died of natural causes, however, neglect by South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust contributed to her death. He said:
“there was both a gross failure and a failure to provide basic medical attention, that there was causative opportunity that if shocked, Lilly-May would have survived, and it would have been possible to give that lifesaving shock within the 15 minute window identified as being appropriate for the position of causation.”
A statement read outside the Coroner’s Court by the acting solicitor, Hayley Emmerson of Lamb Brooks LLP, on behalf of the Lilly-May’s family, said:
“We are concerned that a paramedic was unable to properly understand nationally-recognised resuscitation protocols for the treatment of cardiac arrest in children. The paramedic failed to recognise that Lilly-May had a shockable rhythm and failed to deliver appropriate treatment with a defibrillator. We now also know that, if Lilly-May had been defibrillated within 15 minutes of her collapse, she would have survived and still be with us”
Since Lilly-May’s death, her family have established the Lilly-May Page charity, which aims to raise money for The Arrhythmia Alliance – Defibs Save Lives campaign. So far, the charity has helped donate over 32 defibrillators to schools around the Reading and Berkshire area, and is hoping to donate more in the future.
Since Lilly-Mays death, Claire Page has spoken to Trudie Lobhan, CEO of Arrhythmia Alliance and under their Defibs Saves Lives Campaign, they set up the “Lilly-May Page” Campaign. The Campaign raises money to help raise awareness surrounding SCA and the importance of defibrillators and donates defibrillators to schools and communities. To date over 34 defibrillators have been donated and they are looking to donate more in the future.
Claire Page has said:
“Our aim is to stop what happened to Lilly-May happening to another child. If one of our defibrillators saves a child’s, or an adult’s life, then that’s a success. Forming the charity has helped me personally massively. The fundraising has kept Lilly-May’s legacy alive”
Find out more about Lamb Brooks’ expertise in handing clinical negligence claims.
You can also find the link here to the Arrhythmia Alliance, Lilly-May Campaign page, should you wish to make a donation.
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.
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