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Strep Pneumonia (Sorry, long!)

(5 Posts)
SparkleRat Thu 25-Nov-10 22:06:50

Really in need of some advice. DS (14 months) has just been diagnosed with strep pneumonia and put on a course of penicillin and I am finding my surgery v unhelpful and wondering whether anyone has any experience of this.
He has had a chesty cough and runny nose for approx three months now now - dp and I took him to the doctors after a month explaining that he seemed unable to shift the cold e.t.c., he was checked out and sent home with a clean bill of health but the cough and runny nose persisted and two weeks ago I took him back. A different doctor proceeded to check him out again, listening to his chest, checking ears e.t.c. and again declared that everything was clear (paranoid first time mum yada yada). She took a nasal swab, which I didn't think too much about and told me the results would be back in a few days. Now (entirely my fault) I didn't think too much about this as tbh she had put my mind at rest by examining him and finding no problem. It was ten days before I called for the results and the surgery made no attempt to contact me. I was told by the receptionist that the doctor needed to speak to me about what had been found but could not give me any more information as she was not qualified. Fair enough, I made an appointment for the next day and asked to speak to a doctor who took three hours to phone me back, stammered something about a "pneumonia bug" and could give me no further info, advising that he would contact the hospital and ring me back. Not a sausage heard from him since. I ended up phoning NHS direct last night who were very helpful, explaining that he probably just had an infection and needed antibiotics. I attended the appointment today and the doctor was hugely unhelpful and abrupt, explained he had "strep pneumonia" and basically handed me a prescription disapprovingly and ushered me out of the door feeling guilty as hell.
From what I understand, this is a bacterial virus which is passed through coughing and sneezing, usually carried harmlessly but affecting the weak, old, ill e.t.c. but could I have done more to protect him? How serious is this and should it have been picked up earlier on previous visits? Luckily ds is a big strong boy and doesn't appear to have any symptoms apart from the cough and runny nose. I have been very upset tonight, feeling guilty and as though we have been treated shabbily by my surgery.

USoRight Thu 25-Nov-10 23:11:47

Hi. You are right about the strep.pneumonia being carried in the nose by many children and adults. It is when a viral infection weakens the immune system and causes inflammation that this bug can catch hold. There is nothing you could have done except put him in a plastic bubble and let no one touch him!!! You did everything right, and strep infections usually respond well to penicillin. Although your surgery have been lacking in interpersonal skills, they did take a nasal swab because of the ongoing symptoms which is better than some. Not sure why they heard clear chests?? If he had pneumonia symptoms, reduced sounds/crackles of the lobes of the lung they would have diagnoses a chest infection and given you antibiotics then. It could be he doesnt actually have pneumonia but is just colonised by the strep. pneumonia bug

USoRight Thu 25-Nov-10 23:16:40

Sorry it posted all on its own....
I was going to say I'm sure he will make a full recovery and maybe has a generalised chest infection. You followed your instincts and have nothing to feel guilty about. It could have been a lot worse as this bacteria can also cause meningitis in other cases but certainly wont now in DS case as he is receiving the right treatment.

SparkleRat Fri 26-Nov-10 09:48:31

Thanks so much for replying. Feel a bit calmer this morning and yes, you're right! I suppose I should just be glad that they did pick it up second time around and that we can deal with it now. Just hope this won't mean any long term effects for him as he has been ill for a while now. I was reading about the meningitis link last night - terrifying! Hmm, those bubbles you speak of.. Any idea where I could find one grin

dikkertjedap Fri 26-Nov-10 10:09:08

Hi, agree with previous poster, you did all you could and your dc is now on anti-biotics so hopefully the problems will get sorted now. However, I would consider if there is another GP surgery near you, which might provide you with a better service ... Also, I agree with you, you would expect the surgery to be more pro-active once they had the result of the nasal swab (but as the previous poster said, at least they bothered to take one in the first place, so that was good). With respect to the clear chest, I have come to the view, that approximately half the doctors I come across have no idea how to check whether a chest is clear or not. I have now had several times, myself (asthmatic), my dd and my dh, that a doctor said chest was clear and the next day (and in one case a few hours later) being told your chest is full with mucus, you have a bad chest infection and need anti-biotics straight away (dh had pneumonia which they totally missed until very late and needed hospitalisation). I think it is like with all professions, there are some excellent doctors, there are also many mediocre ones. It seems to be the same with ear infections, our paediatrician told me that he knows many doctors who have no idea whether a child has an ear infection or not (they cannot see it ...). People often complain about nurses or health visitors making mistakes, but clearly, doctors are not a special species and they make equally mistakes and some probably quite a lot of mistakes ...

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