Ongoing claim following delay in diagnosis of pneumococcal meningitis for young boy

Boyes Turner solicitors currently represent Matthew* in a case involving a delay in diagnosis and treatment of pneumococcal meningitis in 2004.

Matthew was eight months old, meeting all of his developmental milestones and was generally in good health when he became ill. Matthew’s mum realised he had a raised temperature, and he had also been suffering from a cough for a week. He had vomited four times, but had no diarrhoea and was otherwise well.

Matthew’s mum was concerned and took him to see the GP. He was given antibiotics, and discharged home. 

A week later, Matthew developed diarrhoea and again was suffering with a raised temperature. Matthew’s mum was worried when he had a convulsion whilst being fed, and she immediately took him to accident and emergency at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham.

Matthew was examined, but a diagnosis of upper respiratory tract infection was made. Matthew was admitted to hospital for observation overnight. During this time he had a further febrile convulsion and in the morning had a further rise in temperature noted.

Despite these symptoms, Matthew was discharged home.

Two days later, Matthew’s temperature remained high, and had reached 40 degrees. Again Matthew’s mum took him to see the GP, and this time she was advised to take him straight to accident and emergency.

Matthew had a chest x-ray, and Matthew’s mum was again reassured that his reactions were secondary to a chest infection. He was then discharged home.

Matthew’s condition deteriorated and seven days after the initial presentation to the GP, his mum took him to the West Middlesex University Hospital Accident and Emergency Department. A diagnosis of pneumococcal meningitis was made, and Matthew was transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital for ongoing care. 

Delayed meningitis diagnosis

As a result of a delay in diagnosis and treatment of pneumococcal meningitis, Matthew has suffered a brain injury. He is also deaf as a result of the infection. Matthew now has a cochlear implant, but continues to suffer with hearing difficulties and has additional educational needs as a result.

Making a meningitis negligence claim

Boyes Turner were approached by Matthew’s mother in 2011 and a certificate of Legal Aid funding was granted to Matthew in December 2011.

Boyes Turner solicitors have obtained expert evidence from a paediatrician and an accident and emergency expert, and an expert with a specialist interest in infectious diseases.

Formal allegations were made against Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust, and to date, they have admitted that Matthew has suffered a degree of brain injury as a result of a delay in diagnosis and treatment of pneumococcal meningitis. 

At the moment, the Trust is denying that Matthew’s hearing loss is a result of the delay in treatment.

Investigations are continuing, and Court proceedings have now been issued on Matthew’s behalf.  

The service provided was first class. You were understanding, caring and professional

David Froud

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