A teenager died from a strain of meningitis after her school and GP failed to give her a life-saving vaccination, her inquest heard on Wednesday.
Lauren Sandell, 18, died from meningococcal W meningitis, which is particularly lethal in teenagers and university students .
She had just started studying sports psychology and coaching sciences at Bournemouth University when she passed away in September 2016.
An inquest at Walthamstow Coroner’s Court on Wednesday heard she began to hyperventilate in her mum’s bed during a weekend at home and died within hours.
Lauren’s distraught mum Sharon Sandell told the hearing: "That’s the problem with this illness. It looks like nothing.
"My husband went to football with my sons and we were in bed chatting.
"When he came back Lauren was dead on the bedroom floor."
The inquest heard Lauren’s school in Woodford, east London, was vaccinating younger students but failed to inform parents that they would not be giving children in years 11 to 13 the jab.
Guidance published by Public Health England (PHE) two months before the teen’s death stated GP surgeries needed to make parents aware of the dangerous strain.
A template letter provided by PHE for surgeries states: "It’s very important that you take up the vaccination it’s being offered in response to a highly aggressive strain of infection.
"This disease can cause meningitis and septicaemia that can kill in hours" — but this was never sent out to Lauren or Sharon.
Sharon said: "No parent or person, had this letter been sent out, would have ever ignored it."
Mrs Sandell told the court that around a week before Lauren was due to leave for university in September 2016, a practice nurse had mentioned to her in passing about the vaccination.
She said she told nurse Caron Dolphin she may have lost weight because she was "feeling stressed" about Lauren leaving home.
Sharon said: "That’s when she said has she had her MenW and I said ‘no I don’t know anything about it’.
"And she said we are meant to be calling them all in, she said they are all calling it kissing flu.
"She said they are all going around snogging and playing drinking games. And I said Lauren had a boyfriend so she won’t be snogging anyone.
"That’s all the information I was given about it.
"She looked up all her appointments for the next week, she was really trying to find one for Lauren but all the vaccinations she had were allocated.
"She said ‘don’t worry, let her go and as long as you give me two weeks notice I will be able to get it for her. Let me know when she’s home next’."
A GP had also previously failed to tell Lauren about the vaccination during an appointment on August 18 when she tore a muscle in her thigh, the court heard.
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