When 23-month-old Lucie Linforth became ill earlier this month with a fever and what her parents thought might be a chest infection, her father took her to their family doctor. While they say she looked "extremely poorly" and her lips were turning blue, the receptionist told them to wait. And wait they did -- for more than hour.
According to the girl's father, Eric Linforth, 33, he went up to the reception desk four or five times during a 70-minute period of time, and was told to sit back down without anyone even giving his daughter a glance. At one point he was shown a sign that said anyone who was being abusive to the staff would not be seen. Finally, as the poor girl sat there physically deteriorating, he told them to call an ambulance. It was too late.
Though she was finally taken into the "minor injuries" room, and doctors tried to resuscitate her for more than 45 minutes, Lucie died at a hospital shortly thereafter.
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Now her parents are left grieving the little girl they'll never see grown up and are furious about the events they say transpired. They're left wondering how if only the receptionist would have listened to their pleas, their little girl might still be with them today.
Her mom, Angie Collins, wrote on her Facebook page Justice for Lucie:
I have no coroner's results yet. But unofficial suspicions are that, the 1 hours ten minutes that Lucie was alive in the surgery, could have been used to get her seen, rushed to hospital, put on meds & given her a chance to fight for her life. Fridays receptionist robbed Lucie of her chance to fight. My beautiful vibrant larger than life little baby girl is now dead.
I simply can't imagine sitting there beside her as a parent, knowing there are people mere feet away that could help her but they're not, and then seeing her slip away. There's always a line where you don't want to be the hysterical parent yelling and demanding things because you fear it will do more harm than good, but there are sometimes that it may be the only way. It's impossible to know what would have happened if her father had yelled louder, demanded more, but you can't help but wonder.
An investigation is underway although her death isn't being treated as suspicious, according to the Daily Mail. But Lucie's family is working to prevent such a tragedy from happening to others, and so far their Facebook page has garnered support from more than 30,000 people. They say won't stop until they receive some justice and see some changes in the system.
It obviously won't bring Lucie back; nothing will. But hopefully her story will prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again.
Have you ever been ignored by a health professional when your child was in need?
Image via The Consumerist/Flickr