Boy ‘milking it’ dies of meningitis

By | December 18, 2019

When Georgie Hall’s son fell ill she knew something was seriously wrong.

Ollie, 6, had always been a happy, playful little boy but he’d suddenly become withdrawn and a rash started to spread over his body.

However, when Ms Hall, 38, from Wrentham in Suffolk, UK, called an ambulance, paramedics “rolled their eyes” and told Georgie her son was “milking it”.

Little did they know, just hours later, Ollie would tragically die, The Sun reported.

Now, two years on from his death, Ms Hall and her husband Bryan are urging other parents to trust their instincts and for medical professionals to listen to parents’ concerns.

“My greatest regrets are allowing the paramedics and GPs to ignore my concerns and trusting them instead of my instincts,” Ms Hall said.

The mother first suspected something was wrong on October 23, 2017 when Ollie fell ill.

As his condition continued to deteriorate, a concerned Ms Hall rang 111 and an ambulance was called.

However, on arrival, paramedics dismissed meningitis and even mocked and mimicked the “grunting” noise Ollie was making.

One paramedic even claimed that Ollie was going to “milk it” after he tripped over a step.

Ollie was then taken to see doctors at a local surgery where they concluded he had a viral infection and was sent home to rest.

“I said I was worried about meningitis and they assured me he was well enough to return home,” Ms Hall said.

“They rejected meningitis out of hand. I was told everything was fine. I was made to feel I had to trust the medical professionals.”

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Ollie’s dad Bryan added: “We both suspected meningitis and Georgie was raising this as a potential diagnosis.

“We were made to feel we were oversensitive parents who did not know what we were talking about.”

Despite this, just hours later, a rash began to spread over Ollie’s body and a worried Ms Hall called an emergency ambulance, only to be told none were available.

Ollie’s parents drove him to hospital instead – but it was too late.

The six-year-old died the next morning at the James Paget University Hospital in Norfolk – leaving his two parents and little brother Charlie behind.

“It was shocking how fast the disease took over Ollie’s body,” Ms Hall said.

“In less than 24 hours from showing his first sign of being ill he had died.

“Nothing can prepare you for that as a parent. No one expects to see their child die, it just doesn’t make sense.

“How could my happy, healthy six-year-old boy be here one minute and gone the next?”

An inquest into Ollie’s 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.

Nigel Klein, a professor of infectious disease at the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, said he believed the young boy could have survived if he had been treated sooner.

He said even if he had been treated as late as 3pm on October 23, he would still have lived, although he might have been left with scarring or loss of fingers or toes.

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Earlier this week, Ollie’s mum appealed to other parents to trust their instincts.

Speaking at the annual Christmas concert of patient support charity, Meningitis Now, at Gloucester Cathedral on Monday, she 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.

“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.”

Ms Hall and her husband Bryan are also calling for parents to ensure their children are vaccinated against meningitis.

“The second thing is to have your child vaccinated. MenB has a vaccine,” she advised.

“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.”

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission

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