Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Girl of five died from meningitis after doctors misdiagnosed her with stomach bug three times

Kelsey Smith underwent emergency surgery to remove fluid on the brain but could not be saved. Credit: SWNS

The mother of a five-year-old girl who died of meningitis after being sent home by doctors have said it "cripples her inside" to know that she might have been saved.

Kelsey Smith died after GPs failed to recognise the severity of her illness and instead concluded she was suffering from a stomach bug.

Her frantic parents said they contacted doctors three times as her condition deteriorated but each time they were told to take her home.

Shortly after she was turned away for the final time she began screaming in agony and suffering fits.

The Bristol schoolgirl underwent emergency surgery but despite medics' efforts she could not be saved.

Her mother Hannah Smart, 29, said that the family were devastated by the thought that Kelsey might have been saved.

It all happened so quickly, I still can't get my head around it, even now.

It just cripples me inside to think that if they had done things differently, if they had acted sooner, then Kelsey could still have been here.

Looking back the signs were there and I believe the doctors should have known. They really let us and Kelsey down.

– Hannah Smart
Kelsey's parents Hannah and Jamie Smart are campaigning to raise meningitis awareness. Credit: SWNS

Kelsey first fell ill less than 48 hours before her death in February 2012, but the out-of-hours doctor her mother called diagnosed her with a stomach bug over the phone.

She was taken to the out-of-hours surgery when her symptoms persisted and she developed a rash on her stomach but was again told it was just a bug.

The family were then told the same thing for a third time by Kelsey's own GP who examined the girl the following morning.

Shortly afterwards the five-year-old was screaming in agony and began fitting in the car as she was driven to A&E.

The schoolgirl's parents later brought a legal action against the GP who examined Kelsey at an out-of-hours surgery.

The GP did not admit liability, but the case settled out of court for an undisclosed, five-figure sum.

Kelsey's parents said they are now campaigning to make other parents aware of the symptoms of meningitis.

"If we can make just one more person aware then it's worth it. I don't want any other parents to have to go through what we have," said Ms Smart.