A public hospital in England has been forced to shell out £3.2m as compensation to a young man it had turned away eight years ago. The hospital staff failed recognize the all too tell-tale of meningitis in him. The boy subsequently suffered a stroke, and he would need round-the-clock care for the rest of his life.
Mark Thomas, now 20, has the mind of a child and virtually no short-term memory. He used to be a keen footballer, but now goes to fixtures and forgets the score within minutes of a match finishing.
He had suffered a series of ear infections which refused to clear up in the six weeks before contracting meningitis in February 2002.
He saw his GP several times but by February 9 his condition deteriorated so much that his parents took him to Walsall Manor Hospital for a blood test.
The schoolboy had the classic signs of meningitis, including a stiff neck, aversion to bright lights and extreme lethargy, which should have rung alarm bells for doctors.
But he was sent home and the blood test results - which revealed the infection had spread to his brain - were not passed on to his parents.
Five days later his illness worsened and his desperate parents took him back to A&E only to be told by a nurse his condition was not sufficiently serious and they were 'using emergency A&E services inappropriately.'
But on the insistence of the parents, the blood test results from February 9 were reviewed, and meningitis was finally diagnosed, Daily Mail reported.
Bosses at Walsall NHS Hospital Trust admitted liability for the errors and a settlement was approved by the High Court in Birmingham Wednesday. The £3.2million pay-out will fund a lifetime of future care for Mr Thomas.
His mother noted ruefully, 'My son had to learn to walk again, eat, it was just like having a baby again.
If the doctors had done their job properly and acted more quickly, Mark would now be living a completely normal life.'
Sue James, chief executive of the Trust, said: 'We wish to apologise again to Mark and deeply regret the delay in diagnosing his condition.'