A journalist who died from multiple organ failure spoke to eight different doctors in the days before her death, an inquest was told yesterday.
Penny Campbell, an associate editor at Time magazine, died on Easter Tuesday in 2005 from organ failure caused by septicaemia following an injection she had for haemorrhoids.
Miss Campbell, 41, who was born in Warwickshire but lived in Islington, north London, had six telephone consultations and two face-to-face appointments with doctors working for Camidoc, an out-of hours GP service, in the four days before her death.
They diagnosed her with a range of conditions, including flu, a viral infection, the effects of food poisoning and colic, Poplar Coroner's Court, in east London, was told. Her partner of almost 20 years, Angus MacKinnon, a journalist for the AFP news agency, told the inquest he had become worried about a "pinky red" and blotchy rash that covered her chest, abdomen and groin area, and a fever.
The couple have a son, Joseph, who was six at the time of his mother's death.
Miss Campbell underwent the treatment for piles on Wednesday, March 23, while Mr MacKinnon was working in Manchester.
While the procedure was uncomfortable, she did not begin to feel ill until the Thursday, when she was forced to leave work.
She told Mr MacKinnon she had had fish chowder for lunch and thought she could possibly be ill due to food poisoning, the inquest heard.
On the Friday, Miss Campbell called the consultant who had given her the injection at the London Independent Hospital, Susan Clark.
She reassured Miss Campbell her symptoms were not due to a urinary tract infection and said she believed she had a virus, the inquest heard.
Miss Campbell also spoke to one Camidoc doctor and visited Dr Michael Fitzpatrick at the St Pancras branch of Camidoc at about 8.30pm, who told her she had a viral illness, the inquest heard.
On the Saturday, she spoke to Camidoc doctors Ranko Vucevic, who told her she had a viral infection, and Kathleen Wenaden.
When Mr MacKinnon arrived home at about 11pm on Saturday, he became worried about his partner, the inquest heard.
He said: "She was quite obviously ill on Saturday night. She had been in bed most of the day and got some sleep, but, when she woke up in the morning, she was worse than she had been.
"She was feverish and had a rash. All her symptoms seemed to be steadily increasing.
"On the Sunday morning, I could see she had a very extensive rash on her neck and groin area going down her legs.
"That made me feel a bit panicky." A Camidoc doctor visited Miss Campbell at about 4.30pm on the Sunday - about eight hours after the first call to Camidoc that day, Mr Mackinnon said.
He told the inquest: "If I had known it was going to take eight hours for a doctor to come, I would have gone to hospital."
Mr MacKinnon said he spoke to the doctor after the examination.
"As he left, he told me it was nothing to worry about and that her symptoms were probably the result of food poisoning.
"I said 'That's good, but what about that rash?'
"He replied that the rash was probably the result of food poisoning. I was relieved because I had been very worried."
On Easter Monday, Miss Campbell phoned the doctor at about 5am, who told her her abdominal pains were possibly caused by colic, the inquest heard.
But later that day, Miss Campbell was advised to go to A&E, where she died in the intensive care unit at the Royal London Hospital on Easter Tuesday.
Dr Fitzpatrick, who saw Miss Campbell on Good Friday, said he had believed she was suffering a viral infection after carrying out an examination.
He said he had not seen previous notes on the patient and was "not sure" what the process was for combining notes so that doctors at Camidoc had an up-to-date file on each patient.
In a letter submitted to the coroner, Mr MacKinnon described his partner as "one of life's natural optimists, a resolutely cheerful and charming person".
The hearing continues.