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Friday, 06 May 2016

Doctors' negligence trial hears weight was 'falling off' boy in run-up to death

Written by The Press Association

A grieving mother broke down in tears and spoke of her frustration that doctors could not find out what was wrong with her son in the run-up to his death.

Carol Morse's 12-year-old son Ryan Morse died at home in Brynithel, South Wales, weeks before Christmas after a four-month bout of ill health that saw his weight plummet.

Doctors initially thought the youngster had a virus. A post mortem later revealed the schoolboy had Addison's Disease - a very rare but treatable condition.

Abertillery GPs Dr Lindsey Thomas, 42, and Dr Joanne Rudling, 46, are on trial at Cardiff Crown Court accused of gross negligence manslaughter.

Both defendants, who worked at Abernant Surgery, deny the charges against then.

On day two of the case, jurors watched video footage of Mrs Morse being interviewed by police.

Previously the trial has heard that Ryan had two appointments in person with Dr Rudling in November 2012. One was for a blood test and the second for the results - which showed a low white blood cell count.

Mrs Morse said: "(Dr Rudling) She said that he's got a virus and it's going to continue for a few more months.

"I just looked at her and thought ... 'this is going to go on for a few more months? He can't cope any more'."

Mrs Morse also said that she was later told come back in a few weeks' time.

She said to police that as well as feeling annoyed she told Dr Rudling: "'The weight is falling off him. He's got no energy, he wants to sleep all the time, he's got no interest in his friends .... ' and she just looked at me."

Previously the trial heard that Ryan was first diagnosed with a virus on July 20 after projectile vomiting and feeling constantly tired.

His mother said her son's skin was also becoming discoloured to the point that other school kids teased him by calling him "teabag".

A jury has heard his health took even more of a turn for the worse on December 7 - and Mrs Morse phoned the GP surgery in the morning before having a consultation over the phone with Dr Thomas.

A second phone consultation then took place in the evening with Dr Rudling.

Mrs Morse said that her son was too weak to come down to the surgery in person.

In the Crown's opening of the case on Wednesday, prosecuting barrister John Price QC said both doctors could not have been expected to have diagnosed Addison's Disease, given how rare it is.

However, Mr Price said the pair should have ensured Ryan was seen by a doctor at home or called for an ambulance on December 7.

The youngster died the following day.

"Had a doctor .... looked at Ryan they may not have worked out what the condition was," he added.

"But they would have seen a very, very sick child who needed immediate medical attention and intervention.

"If they had done as they should, his life would have been saved."

Dr Thomas, of Tredegar and Dr Rudling, of Cardiff, both deny gross negligence manslaughter.

Dr Rudling has also pleaded not guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice with an entry in Ryan's medical notes.

The case, which is expected to last four weeks, continues.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2016, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) PA Wire.