"Failed to identify my seriously ill baby"
About: Hemel Hempstead Hospital Hemel Hempstead Hospital Hemel Hempstead HP2 4AD
Posted by Helen
My 4 week old was pale, lethargic, foaming at the mouth, appeared to be struggling to breathe, had a worsening cough and had not fed properly for over 8 hours. After calling 111 during the night I was given an appointment at 9am with the out of hours GP on 15th March 2014. On arrival I told the receptionists I was very worried about him and they marked me as 'urgent'. When I saw the GP, they did various checks which they told me were fine. I was surprised by this, as my instinct told me that my little one was very unwell. I was very concerned about the length of time he had gone without feeding but when I mentioned this to the GP, they said this was normal ( ). Because I stressed my concerns to the GP - and in light of the fact he had been in special care due to breathing difficulties at birth, they referred me to Watford children's emergency department, where they said that a paediatrician would check him and watch him feed. I arrived at Watford and it was clear immediately to the sister examining him that my baby was very poorly. He was immediately sent for a chest x-ray (with a nurse following with an oxygen cylinder), put on a drip because he was dehydrated and admitted with suspected bronchiolitis. He remained in the high dependency unit of the children's ward, receiving oxygen to help him breathe, for over 4 days. He became very unwell overnight on the 15th, and had to be put on a CPAP machine, to assist his breathing further. I am extremely concerned that the GP that I saw failed to recognise the signs that my baby was seriously unwell and do not wish to contemplate what might have happened had I believed that he was fine and taken him back home. I understand now that the signs that he was displaying - of chest retractions and head bobbing - indicate a baby who is struggling to breathe and I cannot understand why the GP did not recognise this. I feel very strongly that you should act on this information, as, had I not been assertive regarding my own observations and instincts, my baby would have been put at serious risk.