A distraught mother watched her two-year-old son die before her eyes after doctors reportedly misdiagnosed his meningitis as a chest infection.
Heartbroken Theresa McDonnell, 41, had already bought her little boy Tyler’s Christmas presents before the devastating tragedy.
She said today: “I still have them in my house. I see them and it’s heartbreaking.”
Theresa took Tyler to Bellbrooke Surgery in Harehills after he developed a bad cough and high temperature and was violently shaking.
Doctors said he had a viral infection and sent him home.
But after her son’s condition worsened over the following week, his mother took him back to the surgery on Monday, October 31.
Theresa, who lives in Gipton, said: “The doctor listened to his heartbeat and looked in his ears and that was all.
“He was diagnosed with a chest infection and prescribed antibiotics.
“Tyler was complaining about pains in his head and neck but the doctor said that was common for chest infections.”
Theresa collected the antibiotics and laid her son down on the sofa at home.
But when she came to give him his medicine she realised his heart had stopped and called an ambulance.
Tyler was rushed to hospital where he was later diagnosed with meningococcal meningitis.
Medical staff battled to save the little boy’s life – but he died two days later.
Theresa, who has seven other children, said: “The staff at the hospital tried everything they could but I knew he was gone.
“I’m just so devastated and angry. I watched my little boy die before my eyes.”
She has launched a formal complaint with NHS England, which has confirmed it is looking into the case.
Theresa said: “The doctors should have caught this. This is a mistake that has seen me lose my son.
“This story needs to be told to raise awareness to other parents because I don’t want anyone to go through what I’m going through.
“Parents need to be aware of the symptoms of meningitis themselves so that they know when to take action.”
A spokeswoman for the
NHS Leeds South and East Clinical Commissioning Group, which oversees Bellbrooke Surgery, said the practice was “following all relevant procedures” in response to Tyler’s death.
She added: “The practice has just received a formal complaint from the family, via NHS England; they will co-operate fully with this investigation and make records available as appropriate.
“The practice recognises that this is a terribly difficult time for the family and extends its condolences.”
What is meningitis?
Meningococcal meningitis is a rare but serious infection that causes the membranes that cover the brain and the spinal cord to become inflamed.
Babies, children, and teenagers are at the greatest risk
Symptoms include sudden high fever, a severe, persistent headache, neck stiffness, drowsiness and discomfort when exposed to bright lights.
A red or purple rash is also a big symptom to watch out for.
If you press the side of a clear glass firmly against the skin and the rash doesn’t fade, it’s a sign of blood poisoning caused by meningitis.
If that happens, you should seek medical advice right away.
Vaccines against meningitis are on offer on the NHS for babies as young as eight weeks old.