Saturday, 8 August 2009

Probe into girl's meningitis death

Health bosses are investigating whether a two-year-old girl who died from suspected meningitis was wrongly diagnosed with swine flu.

The parents of Georgia Keeling from Norwich claim paramedics "diagnosed her before even looking at her" and gave Tamiflu before her condition worsened and she died in hospital. News of her death comes after it emerged at least one call centre for the Government's National Flu Pandemic Service for England was employing 16-year-olds, sparking concern about the inexperience of staff.

The parents of Georgia, died at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on Tuesday, said they were twice told her symptoms sounded like swine flu before she was finally taken to hospital. Their local health centre first said Georgia probably had swine flu and advised them to call the swine flu helpline which said she had only one of the symptoms and suggested that they should call NHS Direct.

NHS Direct then advised them to take the little girl to hospital only if her temperature rose above 40 degrees C but, an hour later, Georgia's condition worsened and her mother called an ambulance. A paramedic who arrived first said it sounded like Georgia had swine flu and so the ambulance would not come out.

Georgia's mother Tasha Keeling was given Calpol and Tamiflu and told to put Georgia to bed, the girl's father, Paul Sewell, 21, said. An hour later, her worried mother called for an ambulance again and Georgia was taken to hospital where she died.

A hospital spokesman said the suspected cause of death was meningitis. Sources said the investigation into the little girl's death would look into all aspects of her care - including the possibility that she may have been wrongly diagnosed as having swine flu.
Source: The Metro