Boy died of meningitis after flu diagnosis in casualty

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A toddler died from meningitis after doctors wrongly diagnosed him with flu at a hospital his parents yesterday compared to a "vision of hell".

A toddler died from meningitis after doctors wrongly diagnosed him with flu at a hospital his parents yesterday compared to a "vision of hell".

Edward Fogg said he was raising conditions at the Whittington Hospital in north London because he wanted his son's death to change the system for dealing with meningitis sufferers.

He and his partner, Emma Rosen, took their 22-month-old son, Jacob, to the hospital's casualty department last month when he became feverish and drowsy and they became concerned he had meningitis. They were told he had flu and took him home to Crouch End. He died the next day in Great Ormond Street hospital.

Yesterday Mr Fogg, 29, said: "I feel his life mattered so much that I do not want his death to be irrelevant. They must change the system."

The couple said Whittington's casualty department was filthy and they were told to wait in a room that had blood on the floor and urine samples in the sink. They said they did not want Jacob to pick up infections, but when they complained, they were told: "If you don't like it, go to another hospital."

Mr Fogg said that a paediatrician who saw Jacob after three hours was struggling to stay awake. They were given the results of a blood test at 3am and doctors said there was no evidence of meningitis.

Mr Fogg said they were told that Jacob could stay in overnight but that they might as well take him home. When they took him back to the hospital the next morning, a consultant paediatrician diagnosed meningitis.

In a statement the hospital said symptoms of meningitis were "notoriously non-specific". It said tests did not indicate that Jacob's life was at threat, and doctors had wanted to keep Jacob in overnight but his parents decided to take him home.

The casualty department was in "good physical condition", it added.

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