"Paediatric care in Crosshouse hospital. "

About: Crosshouse Hospital / Accident & Emergency Crosshouse Hospital / Paediatrics

(as a parent/guardian),

My son started spiking temperatures, become lethargic and generally just wasn't himself. As a mother of 2 children I just knew something wasn't right. I took him to my GP where I was told "I was a paranoid parent" and that he just had a childhood bug, My elder daughter has previously suffered "silent" chest infections where it hadn't been picked up until she was very ill in A and E due to the lack of chest sounds which you expect with a chest infection, my fear was my son had the same issue as the patterns were the same however this was dismissed by my GP and later medics in Crosshouse.

Over the weekend I took my son to A and E as he was quickly deteriorating. Upon arrival his temperature was 41 degrees and he was showing signs of being septic. When I suggested this to the doctor and asked why they weren't doing the test that would be performed on an adult straight away eg blood cultures and a chest x ray I was told they wouldn't put children through these test without good cause.

I work for Ayrshire & Arran and knew that if it was an adult in the same situation alarm bells would be ringing and an emergency response would have been initiated. He was transferred to the paediatric assessment unit where he saw another doctor who suggested it was tonsillitis and he be sent home with oral antibiotics, at this point I was extremely distressed as my sons saturation levels were dropping to the extent where he was on oxygen and he hadn't been passing any urine for hours. After discussing my concerns with a nurse they asked the doctor to reconsider a chest x ray (at this point I had suggested it was his chest and asked them to x ray him 3 times and was treated like a paranoid parent who knew nothing). The doctor reluctantly agreed to x ray my sons chest and sent their colleague back with the results to inform me it was a chest infection and he was being admitted as he was requiring more and more oxygen.

They commenced my son on oral antibiotics which he point blank refused to take to the extent he was vomiting and turning blue every time we tried to give him them, I begged the doctors to give him IV antibiotics but was told it was inappropriate. My son went about 36 hours from admission without successfully having antibiotics, the next part was the most frightening for myself and my mother who witnessed it. My son was lying in my arms the morning after his admission, I expressed my concerns the he was dehydrated and I felt the infection was getting worse as he was extremely drowsy his breathing rate was rapid and his heart rate was increasing (he was continuously being monitored at this stage). My son suddenly stopped responding to me and his respiratory rate increased to 64 and his heart rate above 220, I thought my son was dying in my arms!

I immediately alerted the staff when a nurse walked in and told me he was just sleepy and the doctor would come after his rounds, but he wasn't sleepy he was becoming unresponsive and my mum immediately contacted the consultant who was on the ward, they immediately transferred my son to one of the High dependency bays where he was started on IV antibiotics and IV fluids and he gradually started to recover and bounced back after a week of care in 1B.

I can't express how terrifying my experience was with my 2 year old son for a parent to feel so helpless and genuinely believe their child was going to die in their arms is just horrific.

I feel he was repeatedly let down by medical staff who refused to listen to my concerns and made me feel like I didn't know my son. I am a staff member who works within A&E and felt like this is the only way I could discuss my sons issues without it affecting my own work. However, I feel it needs to discussed for us as a health board to learn lessons from our experience. I was shocked as in adult care we have a sepsis protocol which works very well however there didn't seem to be anything similar within my sons care if he had been an adult sepsis would have been recognized and acted upon much quicker.

In my sons full stay he didn't have one set of bloods done even after spiking temps of 41 degrees. I want to point out that the nurses, nursing auxiliaries and domestic staff in both 1A and 1B were first class and were an amazing support to my family, I honestly couldn't thank them enough. Our experience wasn't a very good one. However, I hope it can be used to learn lessons and prevent it reoccurring.

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Response from Eunice Goodwin, Patient Feedback Manager for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Quality Improvement and Governance Team, NHS Ayrshire and Arran

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Dear Fearful mum,

Firstly, I am so sorry your son was ill and you both had such a difficult time. When such young people are unwell it is can be difficult as they can’t always fully explain what they are experiencing. Having a mum who works in A/E should have been an advantage to you both under the circumstances but, unfortunately, it clearly did not help. It must have been extremely worrying and very distressing for you and the family. From your post, I understand why you felt repeatedly let down by us. It does seem that you were persistently ignored and nearly to the severe detriment of your son and family.

Often, poor communication is at the heart of events leading to dissatisfaction with care however, it sounds as if you were communicating clearly with us but we were not listening to you and that is very disappointing.

I agree that we need to look into this and learn any lessons that may be required to prevent it reoccurring. How would you like me to progress with this? Would you like to speak to a senior staff member (which I can arrange if you want)? Or if you want, call me on 01563 826222 or email me on eunice.goodwin@aapct.scot.nhs.uk and let me know when this all took place. As a member of staff, you may feel that it is more difficult to come forward, but please be assured that this will be treated in confidence. I will pass this post on to the senior managers for their consideration but without more details, it may be difficult to turn this poor experience into a real opportunity to learn.

I will also bring your post to the attention of the nurses, nursing auxiliaries and domestic staff in both 1A and 1B and let them know how their care was so beneficial to you and your family.

Sincerest apologies,


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Update posted by Fearful mum (a parent/guardian)

Sorry I think there has been an error when my initial post was edited, I don't work in A&E I work within Ayrshire and Arran. Thank you for your quick response, I will contact you via the details you have given me.

Response from Eunice Goodwin, Patient Feedback Manager for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Quality Improvement and Governance Team, NHS Ayrshire and Arran

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Thank you

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