Rainham tot dies after doctor misses brain bug

ONE baby is dead and another was left fighting for his life after A&E doctors failed to spot they were seriously ill with meningitis – on the same day.

Tragic 23-month-old Lili Backhouse – one of twins – was taken to Queen’s Hospital, Rom Valley Way, Romford, by parents Brian and Julie at around 10am on Sunday, January 9.

They claim a doctor dismissed their daughter’s illness, with symptoms of fever and sickness, as a viral infection and sent her home 30 minutes later.

But within four hours Lili’s health had seriously deteriorated. Brian and Julie, of Nelson Road, Rainham, took her back to A&E where doctors found she had the most serious form of killer brain disease, meningitis.

“When we brought her back she was covered in a head-to-toe rash,” said grief-stricken housewife Julie, 38.


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“She was taken to resuscitation, but she died at 6.30pm. My little angel was gone.

“I’m numb, but I am also angry that we were dismissed so easily.”

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

It is believed Lili was 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.

BT engineer Brian, 45, said: “Animals get a more thorough examination at a vet’s than Lili did at Queen’s.

“We asked the doctor repeatedly whether he was sure about his diagnosis and he said he was.”

Lili’s twin Lukas fell ill with meningitis some hours after his sister died, but doctors caught the disease early and he has made a full recovery.

The twins, born on February 1 and 2, were conceived by IVF and the couple say they may try for more children in the future.

Brian said: “Whatever happens we will never forget about our beautiful, clever little girl.

“She was a much-longed for daughter given to us late in life.”

Lili’s funeral will take place in Upminster Crematorium, Corbets Tey Road, Upminster on Monday (January 22).

Earlier the same morning, Kelly Herbert, from Essex, brought son George Thompson, two-and-a-half, into Queen’s. He had a high fever and was nauseous.

Kellys says doctors dismissed the boy’s symptoms as a virus and sent him home.

But a few hours later he was rushed back to A&E where Kelly says doctors caught the disease just in time.

Queen’s said it will 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.”

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