Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Meningitis Was Avoidable Claim

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Meningitis Was Avoidable Claim

Article excerpt

Byline: Katie Davies Chief Reporter

A LOVING mum whose son was suffering from meningitis claims he was sent home with a dose of Calpol and Nurofen.

Heather Hastie said a GP told her there was "nothing too serious to worry about" when she visited a Gateshead walk-in centre with her son Ethan Wake.

The nine-year-old sustained devastating brain damage due to the virulent infection and has been left with restricted vision, problems with motor skills and communication plus reduced mobility and hearing loss.

Ms Hastie, 46, and Ethan's dad Graeme Wake, 48, who are suing for millions in damages, claim his catastrophic injuries would have been avoided had Dr Martin Johnson referred him for immediate expert treatment after examining him at the Bensham Hospital walk-in centre in Gateshead on New Year's Day 2010.

Instead, Ms Hastie told London's High Court, Dr Johnson told the couple their son was suffering from an infection of "unknown origin" and sent them home with two bottles of painkillers.

She described the consultation with Dr Martin Johnson as "detailed". However, following an examination of Ethan - who was "moaning lightly" and very listless - she claimed the GP told her that "he didn't think it was anything too serious to worry about".

"We were still very concerned, but Dr Johnson just seemed to dismiss this," she told her son's QC, Martin Spencer. "He was very confident and reassuring in his manner and we felt that he knew what he was doing," said the mum, adding that the GP advised them to bring in a urine sample later on.

Ethan's condition, however, deteriorated rapidly over the next day. On the afternoon of January 2, his dad drove him into hospital as he seemed "unable to even hold his own body weight".

Ethan was then rushed to Gateshead's Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where a diagnosis of possible meningitis was made and urgent treatment began. …

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