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Court hears of first visits to surgery.

Byline: Katie Sands

ASCHOOLBOY who died a week short of his 13th birthday after suffering from undiagnosed Addison's disease was initially diagnosed with a virus and prescribed paracetamol when he first became ill, a manslaughter trial has heard.

GPs Joanne Rudling and Lindsey Thomas both deny a count of manslaughter by gross negligence over the death of Ryan Morse.

A jury at Cardiff Crown Court has been told the once "fit and healthy" boy could have been saved if the two doctors at his surgery had intervened.

The court heard allegations that it was a failure in their "duty of care", following telephone calls from Ryan's mother to Abernant Surgery in Abertillery, Blaenau Gwent, that led to the death of Ryan in December 2012.

Video footage played during the trial yesterday heard Ryan's mother Carol Morse describe initial visits to Abernant Surgery. She said she took Ryan to see a doctor, who was not one of the defendants, in July 2012 the day after her son felt unwell on a school trip to Oakwood Park.

In the video Mrs Morse said she had initially thought Ryan might have glandular fever because of discolouration to his skin and his age.

She said during the consultation she had suggested Ryan may have glandular fever but he replied "I'm the doctor" before examining her son and concluding he had a virus.

She said Ryan was prescribed paracetamol for his sore throat and medication to keep his salts high to stop him being sick.

Mrs Morse said his symptoms at the time included sickness, headaches, a yellow tinge to his skin and dark patches of skin on his stomach, elbows and around his eyes.

"I said 'His skin is so dark' but it was like they weren't taking no notice of me," she said.

She said the doctor said it was a virus around three or four times and made the initial diagnosis after they were in the room for about five or six minutes.

A second video shown to the jury heard how Ryan started a new school year in September 2012 when he settled well into his new class.

But on September 28, 2012, Mrs Morse took Ryan to the doctors again after he came home with a rash on his hands that looked like a "nettle rash".

She took him to Abernant Surgery and he saw a new doctor, who is not one of the defendants, who prescribed cream and tablets to deal with the rash.

She said she also told the doctor about concerns about Ryan's skin discolouration and projectile vomiting. Mrs Morse said: "It was another case of explaining what was going on with Ryan and nothing being done.

"I was hoping he would have said 'We'll explore that'."

The second video shown to the jury showed Mrs Morse describe how Ryan lost his appetite in the months leading to December and how he would take naps after school and choose to not go out with his friends but instead stay indoors.

Rudling, 46, of Blackberry Way, Pontprennau, Cardiff, and Thomas, 42, of Copper Beech Drive, Tredegar, both deny manslaughter by gross negligence.

Rudling further denies attempting to pervert the course of justice with an entry in Ryan's medical notes.

The trial continues.


Doctors Lindsey Thomas, left, and Joanne Rudling

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:May 6, 2016
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