18 Dec Grieving mum calls on medical professionals to listen to parents
A HEARTBROKEN MUM who lost her young son to meningitis is appealing to parents to trust their instincts and for medical professionals to listen to their concerns.
Georgie Hall and her husband Bryan, from Wrentham in Suffolk, endured the agony of losing their son Ollie, 6, to meningitis in October 2017.
Speaking at the annual Christmas concert of patient support charity Meningitis Now at Gloucester Cathedral today (Monday 16 December), Georgie said:
“There are a few things I would like to tell every parent out there in the hope they never have to experience the pain that we are.
“Firstly, trust your instincts. You know your child better than anyone. The experts at the inquest into Ollie’s death all agreed that doctors should listen to the parents and parental views should weigh heavily in the medical assessment of the child.
“The hardest part of the inquest was hearing that Ollie could have been saved if he had been treated sooner.
“My greatest regrets are allowing the paramedics and GPs to ignore my concerns and trusting them instead of my instincts. I’m so sorry my darling Ollie.”
The couple are also calling for parents to ensure their children are vaccinated against the disease.
“The second thing is to have your child vaccinated. MenB has a vaccine. It’s not available to everyone so check with your GP whether your child is covered.
“If they aren’t, the MenB vaccine can be bought in many High Street pharmacies.”
Ollie had been too old to get the MenB vaccination from the NHS when it was first introduced to the schedule in 2015, following campaigning by Meningitis Now, and his parents were unaware it was available privately.
He became ill on 23 October 2017 and as his condition worsened his concerned parents called 111, rather than wait for an appointment with their local GP. An ambulance was called but paramedics dismissed meningitis, as did doctors at a local surgery where Ollie was taken.
“The four medical professionals discussed Ollie among themselves almost to the point of ignoring anything I wanted to say,” Georgie said.
They concluded that Ollie had a viral infection and he was sent home to rest.
“My instincts were telling me they were wrong but I felt I could not argue”, Georgie added.
As Ollie’s condition continued to deteriorate and a rash began to develop he was taken back to the surgery and an emergency ambulance was called, only to find none was available. He was driven to hospital by his parents, but it was too late and he died the next morning.
An inquest into his death in June this year concluded there had been a ‘gross failure’ to provide basic medical treatment and the Suffolk coroner called for urgent improvements to prevent further deaths.
Ollie’s parents had earlier told the week-long inquest that they felt they had been made to feel like ‘over-sensitive parents, who didn’t know what we were talking about.’
The family was represented at the inquest by Shoosmiths, the major law firm noted for its expertise in medical negligence cases. Shoosmiths is working with the family to campaign for medical professionals to listen more to parents’ concerns.