Coroner rules neglect contributed to schoolgirl's TB death

Alina Sarag died of tuberculosis at Birmingham's Children's Hospital in January 2011. Photo: Family

Neglect contributed to the death of a teenage schoolgirl from tuberculosis despite her making nine visits to her GPs' surgery in the preceding months, a coroner has ruled.

Birmingham Coroner Aidan Cotter said 15-year-old Alina Sarag should have been sent for tests to diagnose active tuberculosis before her death at the city's Children's Hospital on January 6 last year.

Recording a verdict at Sutton Coldfield Town Hall that Alina died from natural causes and that neglect contributed to her death, Mr Cotter said: "A diagnosis should have been made and treatment should have been started.

"I am satisfied that the failure to take action did have a direct causal connection to Alina's death."

'Gross failure'

A five-day inquest held last month heard that Alina, from Sparkbrook, Birmingham, made nine visits to her GPs' surgery, three visits to a community health centre, and attended three different hospitals on four occasions in the months before her death.

In his summing-up of the inquest, Mr Cotter said: "In my view, it was a gross failure that the GP did not refer Alina either to the Birmingham Chest Clinic or to another hospital so that tests could be carried out in order to establish whether she had active tuberculosis.

"At the very latest that referral should have been made on the 8th of December 2010. He should have ensured tests were carried out."

Speaking on behalf of Alina's family after the coroner recorded his verdict, solicitor Thomas Riis-Bristow confirmed that her parents now intended to take legal action.

Mr Riis-Bristow said: "We would like to thank the coroner for his full investigation into this tragic death.

"Alina's family reached out to the medical profession - the family feel that Alina was sadly failed throughout this time.

"The family are devastated by their loss and deeply saddened to learn that the death could have been avoided and that medical care could have treated her TB."

Read more from ITV Central.

Prior to today's verdict, Alina's father spoke of what it was like to see his daughter in the final days and hours before her death: