"A&E visit"

About: Princess Royal University Hospital (Orpington)

My 1 year old son has been fighting a virus for 4 weeks now, and every time one symptom gets better a new one appears. But this week his breathing became quite laboured and he completely went off food and drink for two days and when his nappies were remaining dry, we decided to attend A & E after checking out NHS website advice.

We were seen very quickly, but by a doctor who had already judged us when his first question was if this was our first child. I am fully aware that all babies get all sorts of bugs, hence why i have attended after 3-4 weeks of having a poorly child whose symptoms are only getting worse/changing.

I told the doctor that my son had no infection, or temperature but he was now doing worse and that all of the usual medications, including prescribed, were having no effect but he was continuing to get worse. and had now gone off food and drink and that his nappies were dry. The doctor then told me he's awake, he's fine, until you bring me a urine sample i cant check anything and that in their 35 years experience they had never seen a child like this who had more than a virus. The doctor listened to his chest and said there is no chest infection.

I told them i was completely aware it wasn't an infection of any kind, but could they at least suggest ways of alleviating the symptoms or suggesting how we could get him to eat or drink. The doctor then told us we were welcome to get another opinion from a colleague, but that they had only qualified a few years ago and was very junior so wouldn't be able to match his 35 years experience.

At this point, i just wanted to leave, as the doctor wasn't only being rude to us, but also quite denigrating to whomever the colleague was.

As we were packing our stuff up, the doctor started reading out notes from our two previous trips to the A & E (one was for a head injury after a fall, and the other was from swallowing a foreign object). The implication either being we were over-reactive, or incapable parents.

On desperation i went to a pharmacy, and after a few questions and a look inside my sons mouth, which the doctor didn't do, it was noticed that he had a fungal infection in his mouth and an oral gel was supplied. I am pleased to say that after a few applications, my sons mouth is no longer giving him so much pain and his appetite has returned. He's still trying to shake off whatever virus he has picked up, but at least we can now manage this now he can keep his energy and hydration in check.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Princess Royal University Hospital

I am sorry for the delay in my response to what is a significant concern about the assessment of your son and the attitude of medical staff that you encountered. Can you please consider contacting us so that the experience can be reviewed. Our PALS service can be contacted kch-tr.palskent@nhs.net

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