Family of brain-damaged boy sue NHS after meningitis was ‘dismissed as ear infection’

His parents Nicholas and Sophie are now suing the NHS for nearly a quarter of a million pounds, claiming that if he had been given the correct treatment at Great Western Hospital in Swindon, he would have made a complete recovery.

Mr and Mrs Morley told The Telegraph: “What happened to our little boy should never have happened, and whilst the aftercare by the NHS has been excellent, we feel that we have been let down by the NHS in a very big way.

“A mother and father know when there is something seriously wrong with their child, and although we tried our best to convey this to professionals, we were not listened to.”

The Morleys, from Swindon, took Elliott, then two and a half years old, to A&E at the hospital on June 28 2014, after he fell ill at nursery three days earlier. Just before they reached hospital, he suffered terrifying and uncontrollable shaking for about 30 minutes.

A writ lodged by his solicitor Seamus Edney of S J Edney Solicitors in Swindon, claims: “Shortly before they arrived at the Hospital, [Elliott] began to shake all over. The shaking was uncontrollable and lasted for about 30 minutes. It was very frightening for the parents.

“Had [Elliott] been given antibiotics by the 28th June he would have avoided the injuries completely.”

Mr and Mrs Morley said: “Elliott did not have a rash. Everybody thinks there is a rash with meningitis. This is not true. Elliott never had a rash. At one point when Elliott was in intensive care we did not know whether he would live through the night. It was the most horrendous experience in our lives.

Despite a high temperature, raised heart rate and increased breathing, doctors discharged him from hospital with a simple diagnosis of an ear infection, according to the High Court writ.

Later that day, his parents who were still anxious about his condition, contacted a doctor’s surgery, where he was given penicillin, and an emergency ambulance was called for him on June 30. 

Records show that he was diagnosed with a throat and ear infection, and recommended to see his GP if he seemed no better in two days.

The medical notes say that 70 hours after starting antibiotics he was able to say a few words to his mother Sophie in French.

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