An asthmatic student died after collapsing outside an A&E department while her friend was told to “call an ambulance”, it has emerged.

Twenty-year-old Melody Davis, a University of Liverpool English literature student from California, had collapsed at the barrier to the car park of the Royal Liverpool Hospital.

A friend ran into the hospital’s reception area to seek help but was allegedly told to “call an ambulance”.

Miss Davis died a short time later after being admitted to the hospital following her collapse in October last year.

An inquest into the death was opened and adjourned by the city’s coroner, Andre Rebello, who asked Merseyside Police to investigate “whether or not she would have survived if assistance had been given when first requested”.

A hospital spokeswoman said: “We have given our sympathies and condolences to Melody’s family.

“We immediately launched an investigation after this incident and have kept in regular contact with the family.

“We have shared the full details of our investigation with them.

“We are working closely with the coroner who has requested that Merseyside Police investigate - this is standard practice in such cases.

“We await the outcome of the inquest into this case which will take place later this year.

“Until that inquest has happened it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

Detective chief inspector Tracey Hayes said: “I can confirm that Merseyside Police has been appointed by Her Majesty’s coroner, Andre Rebello, to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of Melody Davis.

“We are working with the NHS and the investigation is on-going at this time.

“It would therefore be inappropriate to comment further.”