This article was published on July 21st, 2014
A nine year old girl has received a £5.5 million compensation payout after Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust failed to spot she had meningitis when she was 8 months old and sent her home with a 39.9 degree temperature.
The Trust accepted that with an early and accurate diagnosis and immediate treatment the child would have made a full recovery. As a result of the delay in diagnosis, the patient will need lifetime care as she was left with severe brain damage and epilepsy. She also has difficulties with her speech as well as learning difficulties.
An investigation revealed that the hospital failed to follow its own guidelines on treating babies and children with temperatures above 38 degrees. According to their own guidelines, children should be kept in and monitored hourly until their temperature subsides to ensure it’s not meningitis. The child in question was sent home despite a recording a temperature of 39.9 degrees. Although the mother returned to the hospital again later that day, her baby was not properly assessed and diagnose for another 11 hours the following morning. This delay in diagnosis and treatment led to her permanent brain damage.
The compensation package is made up of a £2.4 million lump sum and lifelong annual payments which rise to £119,000. The payout will go towards covering her 24-hour care, transport costs, therapies, specialist equipment and suitable adaptations at home.
Her mother said:
“I strongly urge everyone to trust their instincts when it comes to their loved ones. We put our trust in the professionals and they do fail – leaving disastrous consequences. Nobody will know your children like you do and with meningitis, every second really does count.
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