Page last updated at 19:32 GMT, Tuesday, 20 April 2010 20:32 UK

Hampshire swine flu girl 'not given Tamiflu'

Madelynne Butcher
Madelynne Butcher fell ill after returning from a holiday in Tenerife

A teenager who died after contracting swine flu was not given the drug Tamiflu when she was admitted to hospital, an inquest has heard.

Madelynne Butcher, 18, of Southampton, Hampshire, was admitted to Southampton General Hospital on 2 July 2009.

But it was 36 hours before tests revealed she had the H1N1 virus and she was given Tamiflu.

Coroner Catherine Mason at Leicester Town Hall recorded a verdict that Miss Butcher died from natural causes.

The hearing was told that Miss Butcher, of Crest Way, Sholing, had returned from holiday in Tenerife with a chest infection.

Suspected pneumonia

Dr Anindo Banerjee, a respiratory consultant, suspected she was suffering from a bacteria-based pneumonia infection and initially prescribed antibiotics.

On 17 July the A-level student was transferred to a specialist unit at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester but developed a number of blood clots in her neck.

She suffered a heart attack on 6 August and died.

The hearing was told that Tamiflu was ineffective in treating patients suffering from severe cases of swine flu but it did help those less seriously ill.

Madelynne's mother Mrs Beverley Butcher and brother, Robin
Beverley Butcher said her daughter's friends were given Tamiflu

Miss Butcher's mother, Beverley, said: "I want to know why I could go to the doctors and say I have swine flu and be given Tamiflu but when I take my daughter to hospital, to intensive care, it takes [so long] to get Tamiflu.

"I still feel strongly that if she was given it earlier she may still be alive today. I find it very obscure that she wasn't treated with Tamiflu but it was given to all her friends."

Dr Rebecca Cusak, a consultant at Southampton General Hospital, said prescriptions of Tamiflu needed to be "rubber-stamped" by a respiratory consultant to ensure there were no shortages.

Dr Cusak said: "I think the concern was there were limited stocks of Tamiflu and that it couldn't be given to everybody who came in with a cough or cold.

"There was Tamiflu in the hospital but there was a delay until we got the results back for her."

The coroner said: "Despite all the supportive treatment and measures, it still wasn't possible to get her through her illness."

In a statement after the hearing, Miss Butcher's brother Robin, 23, said: "It's good to have a clear understanding of the factors regarding this case.

"Madelynne is sorely missed by her family and friends. She has left a massive gap in all our lives."

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