The parents of a little girl who stopped breathing at school are suing for damages after witnessing the tragic death.about:blank
Mark and Lynette Polmear are bringing the landmark case after giving daughter Esmee mouth-to-mouth in a desperate bid to save her life.
The couple arrived in time to witness the tragedy in 2015 after they were called by her panicked teachers, reports The Sun.
It was later discovered that Esmee had a killler lung condition which affects just one in 10 million people, the newspaper said.
Mr and Mrs Polmear, from Cornwall, are now seeking compensation – reported to be more than £200,000 – for the anguish they experienced while witnessing the sudden and horrifying events.
The couple have claimed in a High Court bid that their local health authority’s failure to diagnose pulmonary veno-occlusive disease led to their traumatic experience.
Dad, Mark, 49, ran to Perranporth School after receiving a panicked call from teachers telling him his daughter was struggling to breathe.
Mum Lynette, 42, also rushed to the school from work and arrived in time to see her daughter laid out on the floor receiving first aid.
Doctors at Royal Cornwall Hospital tested Esmee in 2015 but failed to diagnose the illness that eventually killed her.
And, in 2018, the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust admitted that her condition should have been diagnosed by mid-January 2015, Judge David Cook said.
Mr and Mrs Polmear are now taking legal action as “secondary victims” at London’s High Court.
They say they suffered mental scarring due to watching their daughter’s final moments.
The couple have both have been stricken by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and major depression, the court heard.
Their lawyers say that “as a result of witnessing the collapse, unsuccessful attempts to resuscitate and death of Esmee each has suffered psychiatric injury” in court documents.
The Trust accepted that “more should have been done to pursue a diagnosis” and that Esmee may have been treated if she had been referred to a heart or respiratory specialist.
But lawyers argued the couple’s trauma claim should be stopped because the “negligent failure to diagnose” occurred too long before Esmee’s collapse.
Judge Cook said: “The event would have been horrifying to any close family member who witnessed it, and especially to the parents.
“In the circumstances the question is why should the fact that Esmee had suffered a non fatal episode on previous occasions rule out the secondary victim claims of her parents?
“It seems to me that her final episode can appropriately be described as a fact and consequence of the negligence.”
And the judge ruled: “In the circumstances I decline to strike out this claim as I am unable to say it is bound to fail, the Defendant’s application must therefore be dismissed.”
The Trust is likely to challenge this ruling, and the action is seen by lawyers on both sides as a test case which could lead to a number of other similar actions.