Girl, 3, sent home by A&E doctors with undetected cancer 'looked like she was being exorcised'

A THREE-YEAR-OLD girl died from cancer four days after being sent home from hospital with laxatives to treat constipation, an inquest heard.

Francesca Sio died less than two weeks after being taken to her GP complaining of constipation and fever.

After her death it was discovered she had a rectal tumour, which left the tragic toddler looking "like she was being exorcised" because of the pain, her dad John said.

Croydon Coroner's Court was told the hospital doctor hadn't given her an internal examination because she had mistakenly thought it had already been done.

Parents John and Lorraine were given laxatives for their daughter when they visited the family doctor on March 22, 2017.

But six days later, when she was sent home from nursery after not eating, and complaining of pain, they took her to the urgent care centre at the Princess Royal Hospital in Kent.


They waited almost four hours to see a doctor before Francesca was prescribed a different laxative before being sent home.

Four days later the terrified parents took her back to hospital because she was struggling to breathe.

She died hours later on April 1.

Recalling seeing his daughter in hospital on March 28, Francesca's 32-year-old dad told the inquest: "She was in a lot of distress and she was actually lying down the whole time and that's when her distress was so much that I kind of didn't recognise Francesca.

She was in a lot of distress and she was actually lying down the whole time and that's when her distress was so much that I kind of didn't recognise Francesca

"She looked like she was being exorcised. She was in very, very bad pain so I took a video of that.

"I wasn't happy that it took four hours for her to be seen and she was the only child who had to wait for more than one hour.

"I had to take a video of the pain she had to endure because at the time if we would have been seen sooner things might have changed."

A post-mortem found a 5cm tumour in her rectum which hadn't been detected by doctors.


The inquest heard a paediatrician didn't carry out an internal rectal examination, partly because she believed another doctor had already done one.

Dr Uduakobang Ndiyo told the court: "She wasn't in any pain when I saw her and I thought it would be stressful for her to do an examination.

"Maybe it was something we could have done."

She added: "Next time maybe I would do it but there wasn't any worry at that time."


Francesca's family set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise £75,000 to mount legal action against the NHS.

John believed the first GP to see her daughter, Dr Stefan Rokowicz,  didn't check her over properly.

But the doctor told the court he had given her a "top-to-bottom" examination.

He said he "went beyond what one would normally do" in such a case.

At the time of her death a hospital spokesman said: "Francesca Sio died of an extremely rare tumour, which was identified during a post-mortem.

"The symptoms Francesca presented in A&E were consistent with constipation.

"Following Francesca's death we undertook a review of the case and sought an external opinion which did not identify any deficiencies or missed opportunities in her care that would have resulted in a different outcome."

The inquest continues.

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