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Update, 6pm: A teenager was crying and screaming in pain after she was discharged from the Rockingham hospital and should never have been sent home just 26 hours before she suffered a cardiac arrest at her home, her mother said outside a coronial inquest today.

Kerry McGlew also said that she hoped nobody else had to go through the same experience as the death of her daughter Amy Lee Dawkins, on January 11, 2009, from acute meningitis and focal myocarditis.

Opening the inquest today, counsel assisting the coroner Jeremy Johnston said doctors could do little to revive 17-year-old when she was taken back to hospital after having the cardiac arrest.

Mr Johnston said the inquest would examine the medical treatment given to Ms Dawkins in the context of viral meningitis and myocarditis, the clinical issues surrounding her diagnosis and how she came to be discharged from the Rockingham hospital on January 9, 2009.

He said Ms Dawkins had initially attended the hospital’s emergency department on December 28, 2008, complaining of flu-like symptoms. The teenager was discharged and was later prescribed antibiotics by a GP.

Mr Johnston said Ms Dawkins returned to the emergency department on January 7 and remained in hospital until January 9, but was discharged after a doctor decided it seemed clear she had viral meningitis and could be cared for at home.

He said 26 hours later, Ms Dawkins condition had rapidly deteriorated and she had a cardiac arrest at home. He said it appeared that the reason for her rapid deterioration was that the viral meningitis had also affected her heart.

“The two things in combination meant that there was very little doctors at Rockingham hospital or Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital could do to revive her,” Mr Johnston said.

Rockingham hospital emergency registrar Anand Senthi, who treated Ms Dawkins when she was initially admitted on January 7, told the inquest that the teenager was complaining of a severe headache, mild photophobia and limited neck movement.

Dr Senthi said there were no abnormalities detected in cardio or respiratory examinations. He said Ms Dawkins was not “entirely co-operative” during examinations and she complained more when her mother was present.

Gerard Cadden, who conducted a post-mortem, said Ms Dawkins cause of death was identified as acute meningitis and focal myocarditis.

Dr Cadden said viral meningitis was expected to be “self limiting”, which means a patient will usually get better without treatment, and was not expected to result in death or serious illness.

Outside court, Ms McGlew said she could not understand why her daughter had been sent home.
Describing her daughter as a “livewire: who was organising her 18th birthday party, Ms McGlew said her life had been put on hold while waiting for answers from the inquest.