Meningitis kills girl told she had upset tummy!!!

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by darude, Jan 27, 2006.

  1. darude

    darude New Member

    A girl of eight died of meningitis hours after a GP said she had an upset tummy.
    Courtney Guy was given the all-clear by her family doctor despite her mother telling him she had a sore neck, which is a classic symptom of the illness.

    Lisa Williams also told the GP that Courtney's 13-year-old brother Kristian had been treated for suspected meningitis weeks earlier.


    Join the debate ยป But it was only after Dr Alistair Graham came to their home for the second time in six hours that he called for an ambulance to take Courtney to hospital after her condition deteriorated.

    However, he still did not think it was meningitis and it was not treated as an emergency call despite Mrs Williams telling the GP that Courtney had by then developed rashes, another warning sign of meningitis.

    Mrs Williams was told the ambulance would arrive in an hour. When it failed to, she dialled 999 and a paramedic was sent but he too did not treat Courtney for meningitis while he waited for the ambulance.

    When it did arrive it took Courtney to Nottingham City Hospital as a non-emergency.

    Treated 10 hours later

    She eventually was treated for meningococcal meningitis at the hospital - 10 hours after Dr Graham's first visit - when doctors there swiftly decided there was no time to waste.

    But it was too late to save the youngster, of Heanor, Derbyshire, who died the next day, January 5.

    Yesterday Mrs Williams, 33, said: "The hospital said the first six hours were the most important. I want to know why, if there was even the slightest inkling she had meningitis, the doctor didn't act quicker.

    "I feel it's been blundered all the way. I trusted a trained expert with my daughter's life but she was let down twice by the doctor and then again by the paramedic.

    "Courtney was such a loving girl, constantly smiling and loving life. She could still be alive today if the doctor had acted sooner. Given what happened to her brother, why wasn't she sent to hospital straight away?"

    Mrs Williams, a secretary, and her husband David, 54, a company director, who is Courtney's stepfather, are taking legal advice and demanding an independent inquiry into her death.



    Click photo to see the early signs of meningitis


    Health experts issued new guidelines on spotting early warning signs of meningitis last week.
    Research published in the Lancet found most children had only slight symptoms in the first four to six hours after the infection took hold but key indicators such as cold hands and feet and leg pain can appear after eight hours.

    Traditional symptoms such as a headache, rash and stiff neck can take more than 13 hours to appear, the study found.

    Kristian was admitted to City General Hospital in Derby on November 28 after a suspected lung infection. A doctor there said he had all the symptoms of meningitis, which can be passed on by close contact, but the illness was not confirmed and he was allowed home.

    Mrs Williams first called Dr Graham, of Brooklyn Medical Practice in Heanor, after Courtney woke up feeling unwell on January 4 and he visited around 12.30pm.

    Doctor 'seemed to take no notice'

    She said she told him about Kristian's meningitis scare and said her daughter was complaining of a sore neck and head.

    She said: "He listened to her tummy and said she had a stomach bug. He told me she needed to rest. He seemed to take no notice of what we said."

    They rang the doctor a second time after noticing a rash on Courtney's arm and wrist at 6.15pm but he still did not think it was meningitis.

    Yesterday a spokesman for Amber Valley Primary Care Trust described Courtney's death as "regrettable" and said officials were "deeply sorry".

    But he added: "Through our work on this case we are happy that the actions of the GP were entirely appropriate and in line with good practice."

    A spokesman for East Midlands Ambulance Service said: "We dealt with the requests from the GP appropriately and in accordance with normal protocol."


    Here's a sample of the latest comments published. You can click view all to read all comments that readers have sent in.

    A UK colleague lost his daughter after their GP announced that a stiff neck, sensitivity to light and a small dark spot on her abdomen was just a cold. When her mother pointed out the spot, about the size of a 50p, he snapped at her that meningitis produced many spots and that she was being "a typical hysterical mother". It was only when she began to convulse, some hours after he saw her, that they called an ambulance. The GP arrived as well and tried to stop them treating her, saying she was his patient! She died the following morning, and he was exonerated, his version of events (where he valiantly tried everything) being the one accepted.

    - Anon, Adelaide Australia

    My son who is 3 had meningitis and I called the GP out.I am a qualified nurse and I didnt see the signs until it was advanced and my son nearly lost his life.
    I phone at 11am but the doctor worked until after 1o'clock so couldn't see Jack until after then as she had other patients to see.I am sorry for the Guy family but they should have taken there daughter to hospital is they thought it was serious.
    A friend of mine is a GP and they can't leave a surgery full of patients to see someone who phones up about a patient.T hey either have to wait until the doctor finishes the surgery first then go out on a call and then they look at who is more important to see when they have a list of 5 or more to visit.
    Its a difficult job and illness' do strike all people especially children and the elderly in wintertime. I feel for the Guy family as I have 2 children as well but please remember doctors and nurses have feelings and children to. No-one would want to hurt or cause a death of a child.

    - Cath Eddison, Huddersfield, West Yorks

    I feel sorry for the family but its hard for GP's too.

    Meningitis is very subtle in how it comes out in children and if all children with a fever and feeling unwell were sent to hospital no hospital would be able to cope with the demand.

    The illness is a nasty one and children do die of it and that is the tragedy. I feel for the parents who have lost their daughter but as the wife of a paramedic I know they all work hard and long hours and they care about what they do - they are human.

    -
  2. darude

    darude New Member

    How many times do these things have to happen?
  3. victoria

    victoria New Member

    Rocky Mtn Spotted Fever, it can be very hard to get an early enough dx as it is 'rare' altho there are more cases on the eastern seaboard nowadays than in the Rocky Mtns!

    My daughter had it when she was 9, we went for a week with her on abx but with temps at 105 - she broke out to the abx just when she got the spots so it further muddled the picture.

    And yes we knew she'd been bitten by a tick and I kept telling our doctor, but it wasn't the first time of course, and Rocky Mtn is statistically still rather 'rare...

    we were lucky to catch it in time finally, altho when she went into the ICU her chances were only 50/50... spent 10 days in ICU, but luckily did not have any lasting problems.

    There were lines of doctors and nurses coming into her room to look at her the first couple of days so that they could actually 'see' a real patient, as she had a classic case.

    the boy in the next isolation room was not so lucky, he had lesions on the brain from it, was brain damaged, happened in 36 hours from first symptoms... doctor thought it would turn out to be Rocky Mtn - now I wonder about other tickborn diseases.

    Anyway, the problem with Rocky Mtn is that they don't have anything to go by except symptoms... tests after you recover wil show antibodies however, so that will confirm the dx then...

    There are still lots of nasty diseases out there!

    V
  4. AngieSW

    AngieSW New Member

    I am so sorry for the family's loss of the girl because of negligence on the part of the doctor.
    It's interesting how different docs are. My son came down with a bad case of flu last Wednesday. To make a long story short, I ended up taking him to the ER because his temp was 104.9 and rising. The ER doc immediately checked him for symptoms of Meningitis and did a blood panel on him as well. He asked and checked him for a sore neck, tummy ache, swollen ankles, rash, etc.
    Thank God, it was/is just a really bad case of the flu. I caught it that same night and boy, this thing was and still is very wicked. This together with my FMS flare makes for an "interesting" version of pain; sometimes the pain got so bad I felt like throwing up. Thank God it is much better today.
  5. tandy

    tandy New Member


    My best friend (for over 35 yrs)
    Her son was almost 2 yrs old when he also got this illness.
    By the time they figured out at the ER what it was,..they sent him by helicopter to a nearby city that was better equipped dealing with pediatric diseases.

    Her son passed away a few hrs later.
    He was 22 months old to be exact~

    I've heard its a fast hitting hideous illness.
    I've always wondered if the docs. acted faster,if the outcome would have been different.


  6. sofy

    sofy New Member

    I remember when I was living in a foreign country as a young military wife, many years ago, there was a local mother of 4 in her early 30's who died.

    She was from the high end of society so she received medical attention but died quickly. Dont remember the details, just remember the shock and how we all talked about it.