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Brentwood toddler ‘nearly died’ after doc missed brain bug

PUBLISHED: 09:00 21 January 2011 | UPDATED: 09:50 21 January 2011

Kelly Herbert and son George Thompson, 2

Kelly Herbert and son George Thompson, 2

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A BRENTWOOD toodler was left fighting for his life after A&E doctors failed to spot he was seriously ill with meningitis – on the same day another baby was sent home and later died from the killer brain bug.

Kelly Herbert, from Albany Road, rushed son George Thompson, two-and-a-half, into Queen’s Hospital, in Romford, in the early hours of Sunday January 9.

But the angry mum-of-three claims a doctor dismissed her son’s illness, with symptoms of fever and sickness, as a viral infection and sent him home.

A few hours later George’s health deteriorated and frantic Kelly took him back to A&E where doctors found he was in the throws of the deadly bacterial form of meningitis.

Luckily, the disease was caught just in time, Kelly says.

“It was touch and go,” she told the Recorder, “but they said if we had have waited any longer he would probably be dead.

“His temperature was 41 degrees Celsius and he had a rash when the doctor saw him, but he was still sent home.

“By the time we took him back to the hospital the second time his temperature was even higher and he was covered in spots from head to toe.”

On the same morning 23-month-old Lili Backhouse - one of twins - was taken to Queen’s, also suffering fever and nausea.

The baby was similarly sent home by doctors, and when parents Brian, 45, and Julie, 38, brought her back some hours later it was tragically too late.

She died at 6.30pm.

It is believed the children were seen by a GP in Queen’s Urgent Care Centre, who was employed by a private company called the Partnership of East London Co-operatives.

Julie, a housewife from Rainham, said: “I’m numb, but I am also angry that we were dismissed so easily by doctors. They sent Lili home to die - I knew something was seriously wrong.”

She added: “I feel the doctor played Russian roulette with my child’s life and the bullet landed on Lili’s head.”

A spokesman for Queen’s has promised look into both cases to see if anything could have been done differently.

Acting Chief Executive Deborah Wheeler said: “Meningitis is notoriously difficult to diagnose, and our doctors did the very best they could for Lili. We would be happy to meet with both families to discuss any concerns they have.”


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