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Neglect contributed to child's death.

Neglect contributed to the death of a seven-year-old girl who died six years after suffering brain damage from meningitis, an inquest ruled.

Kate Pierce, from Wrexham, was misdiagnosed when she was only nine months old after being taken to Wrexham's Maelor Hospital in March 2006. A doctor said she had a viral infection and sent her home without antibiotics.

She was later diagnosed with meningitis, which caused brain damage, and she died in her sleep in Florida in 2013.

Jurors were told that the purpose of the inquest was to examine how the child was treated and diagnosed at Wrexham Maelor hospital in March 2006, rather than the circumstance of her death.

Kate's mother Diane told the inquest that she sought medical help after her daughter started vomiting green mucus. An out-of-hours GP referred her to the children's ward at Wrexham Maelor where a doctor diagnosed tonsillitis.

He ruled out giving Kate any antibiotics but the family asked for a second opinion. The doctor said he would check with his boss but returned 45 minutes later claiming his superior had said the family was free to go.

The jury was told that there was no record of that conversation between the two doctors ever taking place.

The child’s condition deteriorated and two days later she was diagnosed with pneumococcal meningitis. She was rushed to Alder Hey children's hospital in Liverpool but had already suffered severe brain damage.

Her parents were told she was not expected to survive, but after seven months in intensive care she was released from hospital and told she needed 24-hour care for the rest of her life.

Kate was left unable to communicate and with severe sight and hearing loss. She had epilepsy and breathing difficulties.  The child, who later developed sleep apnoea, where the muscles in the throat relax, blocking the airway, died in her sleep, aged seven, while on a family holiday to Florida.

The jury gave a narrative conclusion that Kate died of a natural cause to which neglect contributed.

In 2012, Betsi Cadwaladr health board admitted that aspects of her care were not of an acceptable standard.

A spokesman for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board said: "We accept the jury's findings in this rare and tragic case and we would like to offer our sincere condolences to Kate's family. 

"There were aspects of the care Kate received in 2006 that fell below an acceptable standard and once again we would like to offer our sincere apologies to her family."