Doc­tors missed menin­gi­tis in baby

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - FRONT PAGE - EXCLUSIVE: by Nick Cullen

Brain scan may have di­ag­nosed deadly dis­ease

SAMUEL Smith’s par­ents say they are con­sid­er­ing pur­su­ing a for­mal com­plaint against East Kent Hos­pi­tals Trust.

The six-month-old baby died at home on Septem­ber 23 last year. He had been treated in hospi­tal at the end of Au­gust.

Doc­tors at the William Har­vey Hospi­tal in Ash­ford had sent Samuel to Mar­gate’s Queen El­iz­a­beth the Queen Mother hospi­tal, be­cause there was no suit­able cu­bi­cle avail­able.

The medics in­di­cated that he could have menin­gi­tis, and at­tached a memo sug­gest­ing that a cra­nial scan might be car­ried out.

Speak­ing at the inquest, Dr Mohsin Ma­lik, a con­sul­tant pae­di­a­tri­cian at the QEQM, said he was not shown this memo, and no scan took place.

Samuel ap­peared to be get­ting bet­ter on a course of in­tra­venous flu­ids and an­tibi­otics, and was dis­charged from hospi­tal on Au­gust 31. He died three weeks later.

Both Dr Ma­lik and Dr Irene Sche­im­berg, who car­ried out the post mortem, told the coro­ner a scan might have helped di­ag­nose menin­gi­tis.

Samuel’s fa­ther Matthew Smith said: “We are look­ing at the of­fi­cial com­plaints pro­ce­dure. In my eyes, if they had looked at that memo, they would have done those tests.

“It’s not com­pen­sa­tion we want. Noth­ing will ever bring him back.

“If you go to the doc­tor, you trust the doc­tor’s judge­ment, and if you go to the hospi­tal you trust them. We trusted them with our child.”

East Kent NHS Hos­pi­tals Trust this week said it of­fered its sin­cere con­do­lences to the cou­ple.

In a state­ment the trust added: “Samuel’s blood was tested for menin­gi­tis when he at­tended Queen El­iz­a­beth The Queen Mother Hospi­tal in Mar­gate, how­ever the tests came back neg­a­tive. His symp­toms at the time were con­sis­tent with vi­ral gas­troen­teri­tis.”

Pic­ture: Gary Browne pd1201532

Matthew and Pauline Smith, who lost their son Samuel

Samuel Smith

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