A toddler who was made to wait to see a doctor for 70 minutes at a GP surgery stopped breathing and died, it has been claimed.
Lucie Linforth, aged 23 months, was taken to her local GP practice after suffering overnight with a severe cough and fever.
Her parents Angie Collins, 40, and Eric Linforth, 33, were concerned at how quickly her condition had deteriorated.
Eric says he arrived at 8.45am before the surgery had even opened at 9am and pleaded with reception staff to get her medical attention.
But Eric claims he was repeatedly told to wait by staff at Marston Surgery in Bedford.
Eric says he ”begged” five more times over the next hour for a doctor to see his little girl as she struggled to breath and her lips turned blue.
But he claims the receptionist didn’t even look at the sick child in his arms as he was told to wait his “turn”.
Eric says when he became agitated the female receptionist pointed to a sign warning that patients deemed to be abusive would not be seen at all.
Desperate Eric says he had to wait 70 minutes before anyone saw Lucie – when she was taken into the “minor illness” examination room to be seen by a nurse at 10.10am.
By that time her heart had stopped beating and when doctors at the practice realised the seriousness of her condition they rushed to help.
They spent 45 minutes trying to resuscitate her and she was rushed to Bedford Hospital where an emergency team kept working to save her life, but nothing could be done.
An inquest into the death was opened and adjourned on Friday, but the results of a post-mortem have so far proven inconclusive.
The couple claim the wasted time could have saved their daughter’s life.
Electrictian Eric said: “After about 20 minutes waiting at the surgery she got worse, her lips were blue, she was really hot and was having trouble breathing.
“I went up about four or five times to ask to be seen. Finally I went up and I said they have to call an ambulance because she had got so bad.
“They took her into the nurse’s room, but by that point her heart had stopped beating.”
Full-time-mum Angie, added: “This should never happen again to any other family. I will never get over this.
“I want to get Lucie’s story out there and try to stop it happening again.
“She was so full of life and I feel really angry that there was an hour and ten minutes where nothing was done.
“I feel they took away her lifeline. All I can do now is carry on fighting, I need justice for my little girl.
“And once I have that I will carry on fighting for the rest of my life until the system is changed. This cannot ever happen again.
“I will keep saying this, she was a healthy, vibrant, lively character full of fight, and her life was just chucked away that morning.
“If people had just opened their eyes they would have seen just how poorly she was. Time was precious and it was wasted sat waiting.”
Lucie died on October 5 this year after she had been unwell at her home in Bedford the night before.
Her dad Eric took her to their local GP’s surgery while her mum Angie stayed at home with Lucie’s twin brother Jake, and her elder sister Holly, three.
The father and daughter arrived at the doctors’ practise at 8.45am ready for it opening at 9am.
Eric asked a receptionist if his daughter could see a doctor – but was told there was already a queue of 20 people waiting.
The worried dad took a seat with his sick toddler in the waiting room but started demanding help when he saw her lips turn blue after 20 minutes.
The receptionist, Eric claims, failed to even look at the child who was dying in his arms and insisted that he wait his turn.
He begged with receptionist to see a doctor five more times before he demanded someone called for an ambulance as he flet his daughter slipping away.
At around 10.10am Lucie was then taken in to see the “minor illness” nurse who began to examine her but it was then that she stopped breathing.
Pathologists says more tests are needed before they can be certain about the cause of death.
Police are investigating the events surrounding the death and are preparing a report to be handed to the coroner.
Angie yesterday (Mon) praised the medics of the doctors who tried to save her – but slammed the culture or receptionists playing God with peoples’ lives.
More than a million people have visited a Facebook campaign page dedicated to Lucie, and which has 30,000 ‘likes’.
Doctor Fiona Sim, medical director for NHS Bedfordshire and Luton, said: “This is a tragic death of a little girl and our thoughts and condolences are with the family.
“The family must be going through terrible turmoil at this devastating time.
“It is vital that the evidence and facts are gathered so we can all understand what actually happened in this tragic case.
“As this is an unexpected death, there is an ongoing coroner’s enquiry and we are providing every assistance as well as working with the practice to carry out an internal investigation.
“Local NHS services are supporting the family and we wish to offer our full support in any way that we can to help all involved during such a difficult time.”
A police investigation has been launched, although the death is not being treated as suspicious. An inquest was opened and adjourned on Friday.