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Girl died after op to remove teeth; Three-year wait for inquest verdict.

Byline: By EXAMINER News Correspondent

A TRAGIC eight-year-old schoolgirl starved herself to death as the result of an undiagnosed psychological syndrome, a coroner says.

Sophie Waller suffered an apparent extreme dental phobia and refused to eat, sleep or drink after her milk teeth came loose.

The girl from St Dennis, Cornwall, underwent an operation to remove all eight of her milk teeth.

She died on December 2, 2005, less than two weeks after being discharged from hospital, when her medical notes were sent to the wrong GP.

Coroner for Cornwall, Dr Emma Carlyon, who recorded a narrative verdict, said the severity of her condition was not realised and this "prevented her from receiving the medical support that could have prevented her death".

Dr Carlyon said: "I find that the cause of death was the result of acute renal failure due to dehydration and starvation.

Sophie's death was influenced by an underlying, undiagnosed psychological condition."

Sophie's parent's, Janet and Richard Waller, said the three year wait for the inquest was an "emotional and distressing time".

They said: "No words can express how we have felt and still feel.

"Our only regret is that we listened to the advice given to us by professionals and did not follow our own hearts."

Sophie was admitted to hospital on November 7 and had the operation to remove her milk teeth two days later.

She was kept in and fed through a drip before being released to go home for a weekend on November 18.

After a physical and psychological assessment three days later she was officially discharged.

Her notes were then sent to the wrong GP and she was not seen by another medical professional before she died.

After the verdict, the hospital apologised to the family.

CAPTION(S):

STARVED: Sophie Waller
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Feb 17, 2009
Words:298
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