Boy, eight, died of rare condition after doctors mistook the symptoms for tonsillitis and sent him home with penicillin

-Callum Cartlidge, 8, was seen by doctors and nurses in Worcestershire

-The schoolboy was discharged from hospital but died the following day

-A post-mortem revealed he had been suffering from Addisonian Crisis

An eight-year-old boy died hours after doctors discharged him from hospital when they dismissed a potentially deadly condition as tonsillitis, an inquest has heard.

Callum Cartlidge was rushed to A&E after being examined by a doctor in his home town of Redditch in Worcestershire in May, 2017.

Days earlier he had been diagnosed with tonsillitis and given penicillin but his condition deteriorated and his blood sugar plummeted.

On March 2 last year he was taken by ambulance to Worcestershire Royal Hospital but was discharged at 11pm.

But tragically, the next day he suffered a cardiac arrest at home.

Callum was again taken to Worcestershire Royal Hospital – 21 miles from his family’s home in Redditch, Worcs.

Paramedics rushed him to hospital in 23 minutes, but he died shortly after arriving.

Callum actually lived 1.9 miles away from Alexandra Hospital in Redditch which had stopped taking paediatric emergencies because of a shortage of doctors.

Worcestershire Coroner’s Court heard Callum had been examined by a number of medics before his death but was diagnosed with tonsillitis and stomach ache.

A post-mortem revealed he had been suffering from Addisonian crisis – a life-threatening illness requiring immediate emergency treatment caused by a shortage of the hormone cortisol.

Advanced nurse practitioner Susan Tonks, who examined Callum at the Winyates Health Centre in Redditch on February 28, diagnosed him with tonsillitis.

She told the inquest: “He looked a bit frightened to be honest.

“I understand what Addison’s disease is now – I didn’t know what it was at the time.

“He looked like an ill child with tonsillitis who needed treatment on the day.”

Callum returned to the surgery on March 2 – the day before he died – when he was seen by Dr Ikram Ul-haq.

In a statement, he said: “His mother rang the surgery and reported Callum was vomiting after taking penicillin and the mother wanted to change the antibiotic.

“Callum was brought in by his mother and his mother’s friend.

“He was vomiting clear fluid but brown on the day with no blood in the vomit.

“Callum had drunk some water before he came to see me, on examination he was clinically dehydrated.

“He had sunken eyes, he was floppy, very lethargic and his pulse was 120.

“He was peripherally shut down. On examination of his throat he had large red tonsils.

“His blood sugar was 2.6 so I gave him glucose.

“I called 999 and asked for an ambulance – Callum did not look well, I handed this case over to the paediatrician.”

Zara Oliver, paediatric nurse in A&E, who was on duty when Callum was admitted on March 2, said: “He came about 3.45pm, arrived by ambulance with his mum.

“His pain score was five out of ten, he was in mild to moderate discomfort.

“He was pale and looked dehydrated, he was just sat on the trolley.

“He kind of just missed the mark, it was borderline whether I could have done another (observation) or not (as he was in there for just over two hours, which is the time between observations).

“He was sipping water.”

Earlier, Jacqueline Harris, headteacher at Matchborough First School Academy where Callum was a pupil, said staff had become increasingly concerned about his health.

She said: “In January last year he returned to us after Christmas and wasn’t very well, we thought it was just a virus.

“He wasn’t the same child (after Christmas), he had no energy, wasn’t the same, ill the whole time, never got his spark back.

“We were all still concerned about how he looked.”

A trainee doctor admitted she failed to take Callum’s blood because she was about to finish her shift, the inquest heard.

Dr Nicola Goodfellow was the GP specialist trainee who was on call at Worcestershire Royal Hospital when Callum arrived.

She said: “He was complaining of pain in his abdomen – given he was vomiting it was important to ask about diarrhoea but he had none of that.

“From the end of the bed I noted Callum was lying in bed on his side, curled up – it gave me the impression he looked quite unwell.

“He did have dry lips but no other signs of dehydration.

“His blood sugar, as far as I could discern, was normal at that point.

“My biggest concern was his abdomen, which on my examination was really tender, particularly around the centre and lower abdomen.

“My biggest clinical concern around his abdomen pain was trying to find a good explanation for that.

“I came up with a differential of what that could be – which is appendicitis, but a possibility I considered was he could have inflamed lymph nodes in his abdomen as a result of tonsillitis, diagnosed a few days earlier.

“You need to be careful doing a test on a child, it’s important to know it will change what you do – if you don’t and we do something that really distresses them, it’s not always in their best interests.

“The process of taking blood is not as straight forward for a child as an adult.

“You need to be careful and not just jump in to those sort of interventions, and I also personally did not have the time to take the blood in the sense that I was coming towards the end of my shift.

“Although I was worried about him, I didn’t think he was critically unwell.

“(Addison’s disease) is extremely rare.

So what do you think?

Tell us in the comments.

Source :
Source :

Who will hold the powerful to account?
Real, independent, investigative journalism is in alarming decline. It costs a lot to produce.
Many publications facing an uncertain future can no longer afford to fund it, meaning journalists are losing the ability to hold the rich and powerful to account.
Pledge as little as £1.00 to help us support independent investigative journalism

You May Also Like