Tragic Sheffield teen ‘needed further tests’

Lauren Walker.
Lauren Walker.
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A fuller examination should have taken place on a teenage girl after she went to hospital for a second time suffering from headaches - just days before she died in her sleep, an inquest heard.

Dr Charles Stark, deputy medical director of Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said further tests might have given 13-year-old Lauren Walker a greater chance of survival.

He said: “I’m not certain it would have prevented her death, but I think she should have had a fuller examination and recording of the examination at the second presentation.

“If she’d had a full assessment and examination, it may have been completely the same. It may not have been. At least it would have been an opportunity to have picked up the issues at that stage.”

Lauren, of Richmond, Sheffield, died last October, three weeks after starting to suffer with severe headaches that were diagnosed provisionally as migraines.

But the inquest heard the City School pupil actually had a build-up of fluid on the brain after being born with an undiagnosed defect.

The condition caused pressure to build in her head, and the inquest has already heard from pathologist Luiz Peres who said the condition could have been picked up with a CT or MRI scan and treated with surgery.

But Dr Stark said his internal investigation, involving the evidence of independent experts, suggested it ‘wasn’t inappropriate’ no scan was ever conducted.

Lauren was first taken to hospital on September 25, but was discharged the following day after being provisionally diagnosed with a migraine.

Dr Rupa Talekar, who made the initial decision to discharge Lauren, said there had been no medical ‘red flags’ to indicate a CT or MRI scan was necessary.

Lauren returned to hospital in October 7 but was discharged shortly afterwards after again being diagnosed with a migraine.

She was found dead in her bed by her family on October 15. The inquest continues.

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