When 8-year-old Sophie Waller cracked a baby tooth eating candy, it set off a chain of events that led to her death.
Sophie had such a fear of dentists that she refused to open her mouth for examination, so doctors at her local hospital took out the tooth in an operation. One of the medical team told a coroner's inquest that they removed all seven of her other baby teeth at the same time to avoid the need for future procedures.
After the surgery Sophie refused to eat or even open her mouth for her parents, the couple told the inquest. But she was sent home anyway, and starved to death three weeks after the operation.
"No one saw her after she was discharged from hospital," mother Janet Waller said. "I told (a child psychologist) she was sucking on a watermelon, she told me that was enough for her to survive on."
The parents said the hospital mishandled Sophie's follow-up care, referring them to a child psychologist who told them not to worry about Sophie's plummeting weight. Janet Waller said she also was told to consult her family doctor, who prescribed nutrition drinks over the phone but did not see the girl in person.
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