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Family wants answers over mumís swine flu death

Date published: 01 April 2014

A young mum died after contracting swine flu months before she was due to marry.

Joanne Oliver (31), of McKie Close, Oldham, died in Manchester Royal Infirmary in January 2011 after a five-week battle.

The mum-of-one was referred to A&E at Royal Oldham Hospital by her GP on December 13, 2010 suffering from severe aches, breathing trouble and vomiting.

Joanne, a Next sales assistant, was transferred to Freeman Hospital in Newcastle a week later to receive specialist treatment. She died hours after being flown back to Greater Manchester by air ambulance.

At an inquest at Manchester Coroner’s Court, Joanne’s family said they wanted to know if that final journey had contributed to her death.

Stepmum Patricia Oliver said: “We can’t understand why she was transferred if she was in such a critical condition. When she came back to Manchester we were delighted, but we came to Manchester Royal and saw her for 10 minutes. She was still comatose so we went home. We had just arrived when we got a call to go straight back.”

Joanne was originally diagnosed with a chest infection and prescribed antibiotics. and told to see a GP again if her condition didn’t improve.

Joanne told the doctor she had recently been diagnosed with asthma - which would normally put her in a group at risk who would be prescribed anti-flu medicine Tamiflu.

The doctor said she didn’t consider the asthma to be acute and that a chest infection wouldn’t warrant Tamiflu.

Dr Peter Holden, who compiled a report into Joanne’s death, said a swine flu epidemic hadn’t been declared at the time and the doctor had followed a “legitimate strategy” by sending her home with antibiotics.

The inquest continues.