A 17-year-old British girl died from sepsis during a school trip to the Big Apple – after her “history fanatic” teachers allegedly ignored her pleas to see a doctor and disrupt the trip.
Ana Uglow, a student at Bristol Grammar School, was pronounced dead at Mount Sinai West hospital in December 2019 while on the US tour, which included stops in DC and Philly, an inquest heard, according to the Bristol Post.
The teen’s parents told Avon Coroner’s Court on Monday that Ana wanted to see a doctor for what she thought was a chest infection, but that her teachers “refused” two days before she died.
Ana had been out of school with cold-like symptoms for two days before her trip but felt better and left for Washington on Dec. 14.
Her prognosis then quickly deteriorated.
“Ana said that she was worried she had a chest infection, that she felt much worse and had a fever and a cough,” Ana’s mother Natalia Uglow told the inquest.
“She said that the teachers had really annoyed her as she was out of breath and exhausted and could not keep up with their walking but that they just ignored her and carried on,” she continued.
“She said that they were ‘real history fanatics and all they cared about is chasing those sites and were very excited about them.”
However, a teacher told the inquest that Ana had only complained of fatigue and a blocked nose, adding that she had not directly asked to be checked by a doctor, the Bristol Post reported.
The chief medical examiner ruled the cause of death as bronchopneumonia and sepsis complicating an influenza upper respiratory infection, according to the report.
On Dec. 16, Ana “described that she had no energy to walk” and had asked to remain at the hotel while the group visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the inquest heard.
The following day, Ana called her mother several times during the group’s train ride to Philadelphia, the outlet said.
“I was concerned about her and said to Ana to speak to the teachers and ask them to see a doctor and phone me back. I told her to exaggerate her symptoms if necessary to get the result and say that her parents were concerned,” Natalia said.
“I also offered to speak to them myself. I believe Ana spoke to Mr. (Rory) Hambly as she reported back that Mr. Hambly had told her that she would have had a higher temperature if she had a chest infection and advised her to take paracetamol,” she continued, referring to a pain reliever like Tylenol.
“I was also told he had also suggested that they go to a pharmacist in Philadelphia to get some stronger drugs and that if she felt worse in New York they would take her to a doctor.”
Later that day, Ana texted her mom that she was feeling “a bit better”.
“She was concerned, she was worried and to my dying day I will never forgive myself for not following through my request for her to see a doctor and not phoning the teachers myself and putting pressure on them,” her distraught mother said.
On Dec. 18, Ana told her mother that her teachers had “forced her to go on a walking tour as they could not leave her alone.”
The following day, the family received word from the school’s headteacher that Ana was hospitalized in critical condition.
“I was very furious with those teachers who neglected Ana’s request to see a doctor on Tuesday morning and after she had been sick overnight. Nothing was done to save her life,” Natalia said.
Hambly testified that Ana had complained of fatigue and having a blocked nose days before she died.
On the train, she asked “about if she was feeling worse in New York what would the situation be about getting to a doctor” but did not specifically ask to see one, said Hambly, who also advised Ana to buy a decongestant and cough syrup in a New York City pharmacy, the Bristol Post reported.
He said the student had a “coughing fit” and “lent over a bin and retched” at the Empire State Building.
“Not even in my wildest dreams could I have imagined what the next few minutes were going to bring,” Hambly said.