A mum from Stoke has accused a GP surgery of failing to properly diagnose her three-year-old son - despite him having reportedly 18 doctors' appointments in six months.
Georgia Newman says she has clocked up the appointments - with more than half of them face-to-face - after becoming convinced something was seriously wrong with little Cruz.
She says she eventually demanded a hospital scan after Brook Medical Centre, in Smallthorne, blamed the issue on a 'viral infection'.
The scan revealed Cruz has a collapsed lung which leaves him facing a procedure at the Royal Stoke University Hospital and requiring medication for years.
Now the mum-of-three is pulling her family out of the GP surgery.
The 29-year-old, from Tunstall, said: "I signed up for this surgery because it was the closest to me. My son was having quite a lot of bad chest problems. He was becoming very sick.
"I kept taking him back to the GP surgery and saying there is something wrong with him and I want this investigated - and all they kept saying was I was overthinking and there was nothing wrong with my son."
'They were saying it’s just a viral infection and it will go away on its own,' Cruz's mum says
Ms Newman said: "He had a very rattling chest and was always coughing. He was unable to do the normal activities that a child of his age could do which would be playing, running around and climbing. He would get so out of breath.
"They tried to give him an inhaler. They also issued me with a few different antibiotics.
"He had gastro resistant tablets because I was complaining that the coughing was making him sick, they gave it thinking he had a stomach problem. But the gastro resistant tablets made him sick because he never had a stomach problem, it was a chest problem.
"They kept trying to treat him for something he never had and it shut down his own immune system. He was unwell for quite some time."
Georgia says she believes Cruz could have been treated earlier had doctors picked up on his condition sooner.
She added: “I did request a chest x-ray because I wasn’t convinced it was a viral infection. Now we have had the report back from a consultant at the Royal Stoke and he has got a right middle lobe collapse in his lung.
"This could’ve been investigated and treated sooner if the doctors at Brook Medical Centre had listened to me and taken what I thought and how I felt into account.
"I have been there around 18 times with my son since August 2021 and they have never picked up he has a collapse in his lung.
"They always listened to his chest but they said they couldn't hear anything.
"They made me feel like a really rubbish parent. They said I was a worrier and there was nothing wrong. His condition means his lung is not working properly and it’s actually deflated.
“He gets on with it. He thinks the pain and discomfort is normal because he has had it for so long but it’s not normal. He cries sometimes and says ‘mummy, why aren’t I getting better?’
'I feel like I have been let down. My son has been failed,' Georgia says
She continued: "If they had picked it up sooner we might not have been in this position. Things could’ve been dealt with differently. He may have been able to have some sort of treatment that wouldn't require surgery.
“He needs a bronchoscopy procedure. It’s a tube that goes down his throat and to his lungs with a camera. They need to take specimens of the tissue in his lungs and they have also got to repair it.
“I’ve got to collect some steroid tablets for him. He will be on medication for a few years. It could affect him long term.”
Georgia added: “I am making a complaint to the GP practice and am in contact with solicitors.
“I won’t be returning there. I am withdrawing mine and my children’s registration from there and will be going elsewhere. My son is now under a consultant at the Royal Stoke.”
In a statement on behalf of Brook Medical Centre and its senior partner, Dr John Gilby, it read: "While we cannot give any details which would breach patient confidentiality we can say that the claims made in this case are highly inaccurate and do not fairly reflect how this patient has been dealt with by the practice.
"No formal complaint has been made to us. However we have conducted an internal review and are satisfied that we have acted properly and in the best interest of the patient throughout.
"Any formal complaint would allow us to demonstrate this to be the case.
"We also note that mention has been made of solicitors being contacted. Any legal action would be robustly defended.
"Our priority is always to deliver the highest quality of care to all our patients."
A Stoke-on-Trent Clinical Commissioning Group spokesman said: "We would encourage anyone who has a complaint to contact the Patients Advice and Liaison Service (PALS).
"This can be done by calling Freephone: 0808 196 8861."