A BOROUGH mum has claimed staff at Heartlands Hospital ignored her desperate pleas to see her 18-month-old son despite him showing symptoms of meningitis.
When Victoria Hughes’ son Joseph Hawkes began exhibiting a high temperature, rash and vomiting, his concerned mum rushed him to Heartland’s children’s Accident and Emergency department.
Arriving at around 11.30pm, on May 24, Ms Hughes, from Monkspath, told staff her child was showing classic symptoms of meningitis, which can kill in hours. But, an hour after arriving, she was appalled to be informed Joseph was still only 66th in the queue.
“We were treated in an absolutely despicable way,” said the 31-year-old.
“All I wanted was someone to look at him and bring the temperature down. He was getting hotter and hotter in that waiting room and very distressed.
“I was kept waiting and waiting. No-one would give me an answer.
“The person on the desk in children’s A&E didn’t know my baby wasn’t very, very poorly.
“I was crying, I just wanted my very sick son to be seen, but they made me feel like I was vermin.”
By 1am, Ms Hughes decided “enough was enough” and took her son to another hospital.
“I told them, ‘this is how children die’ and left.
“Although Good Hope was stretched to capacity, at least they listened to me and someone with medical training came to look at my son though we got to 5am and a doctor still hadn’t looked at him.
“Thank god it wasn’t meningitis but it could’ve been. He had plenty of the symptoms. It was a horrendous situation.”
Ms Hughes confirmed that Joseph was not found to have had meningitis and both are now recovering from the frightening ordeal.
Lisa Thomson, Heartlands director, said: “We are sorry to learn of the issues raised and would urge this patient’s family to contact us directly so we can investigate their concerns.
“We aim to maintain the highest standards of care for all of our patients, and have a dedicated paediatric facility at Heartlands which aims to give all children rapid access to emergency care.
“For reasons of confidentiality, we cannot comment on any individual patient.”