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To make a complaint to PALS

(70 Posts)
ElseaKnowsBest Tue 27-Dec-16 13:08:27

Recently me and my DH took DS to hospital. He had been unwell for a few days and had deteriorated quite badly. His temperature was high, he was not eating or drinking and had gone floppy. (No wet or dirty nappies either). We had been giving him dyoralite and regular paracetamol and ibuprofen. Nothing was working and after ringing 111 we ended up in A&E. The doctor looked at his OBS said his heart rate was very high and his oxygen wasn't as good as it should have been. They wanted to observe him and needed a urine sample. 12 hours later his heart rate was a bit lower and oxygen had improved slightly. We got told it was a viral illness and to go home. "Keep doing what you're doing". I was called a paranoid mother because I said he still seemed really poorly. I asked if they could take his blood. Doctor said no. 3 days after that he was unresponsive and was rushed to a specialist hospital. We got told it was severe dehydration. My husband went with him, I dropped my DD off at school and made my way to hospital. When I got there my son was in a resuss room surrounded by doctors. His x-ray results showed he had pneumonia in his left lung. His veins had collapsed so they had drilled into his shin bone to get strong antibiotics into him as he also had sepsis in his legs. The doctor told me he was in critical condition. Once stable he was taken to the great north children's hospital. The antibiotics weren't doing enough and he had an empyema and needed surgery. The surgeon took all the infection out and he had a drain in for 4 days as they had found an abscess in his lung. 14 days in hospital and he's back home. He lost muscle mass in his legs and has had to learn to balance again.
I'm angry at the original doctor as he failed to grasp just how ill my son was. If he had taken blood he might have found the infection in his blood. My 18 month old baby nearly died! I keep thinking about it. It's put dampener on Christmas and I'm struggling. The health visitor has been lovely and has given me tips about how to build him back to a healthy weight.
AIBU to make a complaint to PALS about the first doctor? Or should I accept that limited resources and pressure on doctors meant he did all he could at the time?

Strongmummy Tue 27-Dec-16 13:15:31

What an awful situation and thank god your son is getting the treatment he needs. I'd complain. They need to learn from these mistakes

MavisTheTwinklyToreador Tue 27-Dec-16 13:17:25

Sorry to hear your son was so ill. A complaint seems called for to me.

GreatFuckability Tue 27-Dec-16 13:17:52

I'm not sure. babies that age can get a lot sicker than they were fast. The original doctor might have been right at the time he saw him. However, did someone actually call you a paranoid mother? because thats not an acceptable way to talk to anyone. If thats the case, i think you are within your rights to complain because that person needs training on how to deal with people!

ElseaKnowsBest Tue 27-Dec-16 13:19:55

It was the doctor who called me a paranoid mother because I said I think he needed blood tests and didn't seem any better since we had brought him in.

Pineapplemilkshake Tue 27-Dec-16 13:20:04

Children can become very ill very quickly so it may be possible that there were no grounds for blood tests/x-rays etc the first time. There would usually be signs of pneumonia on clinical examination and these may have been absent at your first visit. It was understandably very upsetting for you all, he was obviously very ill indeed. I don't think there is any harm in raising concerns however, perhaps they could arrange for the A&E consultant or equivalent to discuss the initial presentation with you and go through the clinical notes.

Pineapplemilkshake Tue 27-Dec-16 13:20:52

I meant to say as well, yes I would complain about being called a paranoid mother though, regardless.

Sirzy Tue 27-Dec-16 13:23:22

I can understand why your not happy, but a lot can change in 3 days and the doctor can only judge on how they are presenting at the time.

At that time he could well have "just" had a virus which developed over the coming days.

MatildaTheCat Tue 27-Dec-16 13:25:48

I agree with contacting PALs to explain what happened subsequently so they can review the case and possibly learn from it. However, your ds was seen and monitored for several hours and made some improvement so he wasn't neglected. Ask for a debrief if that would help. Also from the hospital he ended up in if you feel you have any unanswered questions.

You've had a terrible experience and I send great sympathy but not all severe illnesses can be predicted in advance and your ds's case sounds extremely rare.

Good hospitals like to learn from such cases so don't be afraid to ask but I personally wouldn't frame it as a complaint, more a concern.

GreatFuckability Tue 27-Dec-16 13:26:04

then i think yes, if he said 'you are a paranoid mother' that is grounds for complaint.

callmeadoctor Tue 27-Dec-16 13:28:28

Please complain, my baby died 16 years ago today, because we were turned away from the hospital several times with "she has a virus". Never got an apology and no lessons were learned! There are still posters in my GPs surgery telling parents the warning signs of Meningitis. The irony is that it is the doctors that miss the signs, not the parents!

DeepFriedCamembert Tue 27-Dec-16 13:29:08

I would make a complaint. It may be the doctor acted entirely appropriately, but that will be looked into and his/her reasons should be included in the response. It is never okay to call a parent a "paranoid mother" though. Your poor little child. I hope you all feel better soon.

morelimonpledge Tue 27-Dec-16 13:29:29

Calling you paranoid is completely unprofessional. Even if your DS had been much better once you got him home, that would still have been very wrong. You should definitely make a complaint. Doctors are not gods, and need to make sure they address people with common courtesy and don't resort to insults.

Hopefully a complaint to PALS will result in this ignorant dr being sent on some appropriate training about how to have conversations with people!

ElseaKnowsBest Tue 27-Dec-16 13:30:31

Part of me just wants to leave it. He's home after all and on the mend. The only big difference is the scar on his ribs off his surgery and the drain. Even that is very neat and healing well. All the staff we encountered at the three different hospitals my son was at were the loveliest and most dedicated people you could meet, from surgeons to nurses. I just feel like we got fobbed off a bit originally. I dunno sad

bananagreen Tue 27-Dec-16 13:32:15

Pneumonia often develops as a post viral complication and can then lead to sepsis, so as others have said the original diagnosis could well be correct. I would ask to speak with one of the consultants to talk you through things and also complain about being called a paranoid mother as that is poor people skills regardless of the diagnosis.

OurBlanche Tue 27-Dec-16 13:32:28

For all the reasons Matilda gave, I would agree that PALS would be a good idea.

Don't worry about making that first contact. Remember this is what they do, they will guide you.

I hope your DS has a good recovery.

DJBaggySmalls Tue 27-Dec-16 13:33:51

* I was called a paranoid mother because I said he still seemed really poorly.*
Yes, complain. Thats unacceptable. I've been through that and so has a friend of mine. We werent.
Children die of meningitis when doctors ignore their 'paranoid mothers'.

DonutParade Tue 27-Dec-16 13:35:12

You do not have to raise concerns now. I would examine the guidelines and see if they acted appropriately. Calling you paranoid deserves raising by itself. www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg160/chapter/1-recommendations

BIgBagofJelly Tue 27-Dec-16 13:37:30

I have a great deal of sympathy for doctors and medical staff who almost always do an amazing job in difficult circumstances (particularly A&E doctors wo are under enormous pressure and are leaving in droves because of the difficulty of the job) but I don't think you'd be out of line to make a complaint. It's not clear if the doctor was definitely at fault but a complaint will spark an investigation so they can determine whether he followed the correct course of action. If he did then fine, if not improvements can be made for the future. Either way it may help you to get over the incident which sounds traumatic for everyone!

BIgBagofJelly Tue 27-Dec-16 13:38:58

I also agree that if any medical professional called you paranoid it is massively inappropriate and deserves a complain. (My mum was a doctor who was sometimes needed for paediatric resuscitation although she wasn't an A&E doctor, and a great deal of emphasis is rightly placed on communicating with patients and parents, carers etc.)

Awwlookatmybabyspider Tue 27-Dec-16 13:40:34

YDNBU. However don't expect them to do anything. They all close ranks and side together. I speak from experience, well my dads experience, anyway. He put a complaint in about s nurse, whilst in hospital, and 2 staff came up to him and said. ------- What do you mean, Everybody loves her. So basically just dismissed him.

Crumbs1 Tue 27-Dec-16 13:48:18

The reason to make a complaint is not for redress but to help the organisation learn. Mothers should be believed, on the whole. There is a clear Paediatric Early Warning Scoring system to identify deteriorating children and a clear Sepsis pathway. PALS can demonstrate those were used appropriately (hopefully) and reassure you that the signs were simply not there at the time.......or they can see the scoring was not done, that there was poor decision making and explain why this was and what they are going to do about it.

lljkk Tue 27-Dec-16 13:52:36

Can a blood test diagnose pneumonia (a lung infection)?

Hedgehog80 Tue 27-Dec-16 13:53:03

Def complain

But don't be surprised to get a load of bullshit back as hospitals tend to cover up their mistakes. My daughter was misdiagnosed and they made false notes to try and cover up what they had done

BlackSwan Tue 27-Dec-16 13:56:28

Yes I would complain. Their patronising attitude could have cost you your son's life - it's just luck that he is still alive.

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