A schoolboy in Midlands tragically died of meningitis on his 13th birthday after hospital staff gave him medication for headache even though he displayed six tell-tale signs of the meningitis virus, an inquest heard.
Hednesford's Thomas Smith was on a holiday in Wales when he was taken to an out-of-hours GP after he complained of headaches. He was referred to the Prince Charles Hospital, in Merthyr Tydfil, with tell-tale symptoms of meningitis including sickness, neck-pain, flu-like symptoms, earache and vomiting.
However consulting doctor Kwong-Tou Yip gave him Paracetamol tablets for his headaches but Smith was later diagnosed with pneumococcal meningitis. Dr Yip admitted to the inquest that he should have had started Smith on antibiotics sooner, though microbiology professor Gary French said that antibiotics would 'not necessarily' have saved his life.
"If meningitis had been diagnosed at admission then he would have been started on antibiotics. The earlier you start treatment the better - early treatment improves outcomes. But giving antibiotics is not a magic wand that saves patients from all complications", French told the hearing.