Bushey woman died after tooth infection, inquest told

First published in News Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author by

A 23-year-old woman from Bushey who feared going to the dentist died as a result of an infected tooth, an inquest heard today.

Amanda Latigo, of Palmer Avenue, contracted the blood infection septicaemia from an abscess in her mouth that had developed from a decayed tooth.

The inquest at Hatfield Coroner’s Court heard how the student suffered multi organ failure, on February 10, days before she was due to have oral surgery to remove the problematic molar.

Despite three weeks of pain, Miss Latigo only sought treatment from her practitioner Doctor Revitt on February 7.

Ugandan-born Miss Latigo had a history of tooth problems and was referred for specialist treatment on more than one occasion, though she did not attend the appointments, the inquest heard.

Giving evidence today, Dr Revitt, who had been Miss Latigo’s practitioner since 1997, said she was a nervous patient who did not like the dentist.

He told the inquest that when she came to see him in February her condition appeared normal and she was given antibiotics and referred for minor oral surgery to remove the tooth at the back of her mouth.

But just three days later she was rushed to hospital after feeling severely unwell.

The inquest heard how Ugandan-born Miss Latigo suffered a cardiac arrest in the ambulance and died shortly after arriving at the Vicarage Road hospital.

Pathologist Paul Richman who carried out the post mortem told the inquest that the antibiotics taken in the days before her death had some effect but that they may have been taken too late to prevent the septicaemia.

Coroner Edward Thomas described her as stoic in her approach to medical treatment after she once suffered tonsillitis without visiting the doctors.

Addressing Miss Latigo’s mother who was present at today’s hearing, he said: “From what little I have heard, she sounds like a lovely lady and it is such a tragedy for you and the family that she died in this way.

“She didn’t like going to the dentist - a lot of people don’t and you can understand why but it is important to go for regular check-ups.

“Very rarely does an infection have such tragic results - she was young and she had her life before her. “ Coroner Thomas gave the cause of death as multi organ failure from septicaemia caused by a mouth abscess and recorded a verdict of natural causes.

He added: “Tragically this septicaemia was one which very rarely can be fatal.”

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