Compensation recovered following delay in diagnosis of child's meningitis

John was born in March 1997. When he was 3½ years old, John suffered a pneumococcal meningitis infection. Unfortunately there was a delay in diagnosing this infection, and as a result, John suffered a severe brain injury.

John's initial symptoms included a headache, earache and he appeared to be running a temperature. 

The day after the onset of his symptoms, John was seen by a GP at an out-of-hours GP clinic.  John's Mum was advised to give him Calpol, and to bring him back if he didn’t improve. That same evening, John's Mum called the out-of-hours GP service, as she was still concerned about his condition.  She was given the same advice.

The following day, a Monday, John had still not improved.  Again, his Mum took him to the GP who recorded a “flu-like illness” in his notes.  No antibiotics were prescribed. 

During the Tuesday, John showed signs of lethargy, and again his Mum remained worried about him.  She called the GP surgery again late that evening.

By then John's symptoms were recorded as having vomited three days before, and had been drowsy during the previous day.  He had also vomited again and remained hot to the touch despite Calpol.  His temperature at that stage was recorded as 40.4˚ and he was shivering and shaky.

The GP advised John's Mum to take him straight to hospital, and he was admitted to the paediatric ward at Frimley Park Hospital at 11.00 pm.  His temperature remained high.

Over the following night, John was reviewed by a number of doctors.  His condition was discussed with a registrar and although John's blood results showed a high white cell count, no action was taken until the following morning at approximately 9.00 am.  A consultant reviewed John, and was concerned about his condition.  Meningitis antibiotics were commenced, and blood and urine sample tests were ordered to try to establish a diagnosis.  Unfortunately there was then a further delay in starting the antibiotic treatment and John's condition suddenly deteriorated at midday.

John became very seriously ill, and was subsequently transferred to Guy’s and St Thomas’s Hospital for treatment.  He was transferred to the intensive care unit and was ventilated.

An MRI scan was taken a number of days later, and showed a significant injury to John's brain.

John's Mum approached Boyes Turner’s specialist team about making a delay in diagnosis of meningitis negligence claim shortly after John was discharged home.

After investigations with a number of leading experts, formal allegations were sent to the Hospital Trust.  It was alleged that the doctors at Frimley Park Hospital failed to begin antibiotic treatment when John arrived at hospital, and whilst they waited for the results of blood tests. 

It was John's case that if treatment had begun seven hours earlier than it in fact did, then he would have survived his meningitis illness without sustaining any significant disability.

Initially the Hospital Trust admitted that they had failed in their duty of care to John, and that antibiotic treatment should have commenced earlier.  However, the Hospital Trust did not admit that the delay in starting antiobiotic therapy caused John's injury.

Court proceedings were issued, and the solicitors for the hospital then admitted liability in full.  Judgment was entered for John in February 2010. 

Boyes Turner solicitors then undertook complex investigations into the extent of John's disability, and the likely cost of meeting his needs for the remainder of his life.

After negotiations with the hospital solicitors, John's case settled in the sum of £1.5 million. 

The service was personal, professional and considered. I was treated so kindly and in the end I knew that not only had I found the right organisation but also the right person.

Boyes Turner client

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