Hospital 'sent Swine Flu baby home'

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A critically ill baby diagnosed with swine flu had earlier been sent home from a hospital with indigestion medicine, his parents said today.

Five-week-old Harvey Flanagan, from Stockport, Greater Manchester, is fighting for his life against the H1N1 virus and bronchiolitis.

He was reportedly twice sent home from Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport before his parents later opted to take him to nearby Tameside Hospital when he "turned blue".

The youngster was transferred to Royal Manchester Children's Hospital a day later last Friday and remains on a life support machine with his condition described as critical but stable.

His parents, Andrew Flanagan and Michelle Dyer, said they initially went to Stepping Hill on the advice of their GP after their son had breathing problems.

They said they were given indigestion treatment Gaviscon after they had to wait for more than a hour to see a doctor.

The couple returned the next day when Harvey's breathing worsened and he turned pale but said they were again sent home within two hours. When his condition further deteriorated they took him to Tameside

Hospital instead the following day.

Mr Flanagan told the Manchester Evening News: "It breaks my heart to say this but if we weren't persistent I don't think Harvey would be here now. It's a good job that we listened to our instincts.

"When he arrived at Royal Manchester they gave him treatment for swine flu before they had even had test results for the virus - if they had waited I think it would have been too late."

Speaking about his experience at Stepping Hill, he added: "We were made to feel like we were overprotective. We were both crying in the car on the way back wondering if we were being over the top."

In a statement, Chris Burke, chief executive of Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, said: "The trust is concerned to hear about Harvey Flanagan's situation.

"We will be contacting his family to discuss directly with them any concerns they may have with regard to the treatment received by Harvey at Stepping Hill Hospital."

Tomas Pietrangeli, Managing Director, Arla Foods UK, Photo: Adrian Forrest

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