‘Laughing’ teen died after suffering cardiac event during routine MRI scan

‘Laughing’ teen died after suffering cardiac event during routine MRI scan


An investigation has been launched after a 14-year-old girl died after undergoing a general anaesthetic during a routine MRI scan.

Alice Sloman went into hospital "laughing and singing" for the routine procedure but was given the anaesthetic after becoming "extremely anxious" and "hypersensitive".

She died three days later after suffering a fatal cardiac event while inside an MRI machine.

A hormone given for a growth defect led to an undiagnosed condition which enlarged her heart and put her at danger when anaesthetised.

Alice, who was undergoing tests for suspected water on the brain, survived on life support for over 72 hours before her organs shut down.

As doctors fought to save Alice's life, they discovered that she had an underlying heart problem that mean her heart was weaker than that of the average 14-year-old.

Torbay Hospital referred the case for investigation and confirmed that the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch was looking into the case at a national level.

The hospital said: "We are expecting their report shortly and welcome the news that Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch has launched a national investigation."

University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Bristol Children's Hospital and was responsible for Alice's specialist care, said: "We are fully cooperating with this investigation and await the findings."

Alice had hormone treatment to combat her growth defect but this meant her heart had grown to about twice the size it should have been.

The MRI scan was to discover if there was fluid on her brain – a side effect of growth hormone.

She was due to be seen first on the day of her scan but had to wait several hours, which led to her needing the anaesthetic because of her anxious state.

Her mum Sarah Sloman, of Torquay. Devon, said: "The nurses pointed out to the doctors they were concerned about her hypertensive state."

Mrs Sloman said as soon as the doctors realised there was a problem they should have "aborted straight away".

"They didn't do enough homework in knowing who they were dealing with the day before," she said.

Alice was transferred to Bristol Children's Hospital but died three days later in October last year. The NHS report said she had a heart attack during the scan.

A post-mortem report by North Bristol NHS Trust said during the scan Alice suffered episodes of a very low heart rate until she became critically ill.

It concluded that the general anaesthetic was the "precipitating factor" in her death.

An inquest into her death is due in December.

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