At the age of four months, Michael was admitted to hospital with signs of lethargy and dehydration. He was of low weight and had non specific immuno-deficiency. He remained in hospital for twelve days where he had naso-gastric feeds.
He was followed up as a out-patient with “a rather odd eczema”. By February 1995 the eczema was infected and Michael still remained lethargic and of low weight. Blood tests indicated he had a significant neutropenia.
Subsequently Michael became increasingly unwell with a chest infection, vomiting and diarrhoea and on 5 March was referred to the hospital.
It was noted that Michael was seeing the dermatologist as an out-patient. Antibiotics were stopped and he was discharged home.
Michael re-attended on 8 March where he was noted to be dehydrated and weak with a high temperature. He was almost moribund and the crash team was called to resuscitate him.
Following discussions with haematologist Michael was treated as a febrile neutropenic and prescribed specific antibiotics.
Nevertheless, Michael remained very ill and by the 16 March the condition of his face had deteriorated there being extensive necrotic lesions involving the centre of his face, both eyes, nasal bridge and cheeks. He was transferred to Great Ormond Street on 18 March.
Although Michael continued to make improvement he was left with a very severe disability of his face. We instructed a microbiologist and paediatrician who confirmed our initial advice that the hospital were negligent in failing to take Michael’s condition much more seriously at the beginning.
We alleged that if appropriate treatment had been given the infection of the facial soft tissue would have been controlled and would not have progressed in the necrosis.
The action was strenuously denied by the hospital primarily on the grounds that earlier treatment would have made little difference to the outcome. The action was finally settled (and received approval of the Court) for £200,000 in May.
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