Last week, it emerged in the news that a four-month-old boy, Brock Morschel, had been sent home from Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital on two separate occasions before being diagnosed with meningitis.
Brock’s mother, Tegan, first took him to Shoalhaven Hospital on 10 July after he developed a cold and fever and his symptoms became worse. Doctors at the hospital allegedly told Tegan to give him Panadol and maintain his fluid intake and subsequently sent him home.
Brock’s symptoms did not improve so Tegan took him to the local medical centre. The GP advised her to take him back to hospital immediately. Tegan took him to hospital where he was seen by a paediatrician. The paediatrician allegedly diagnosed him with acute upper respiratory infection and advised her that Brock was alert enough to return home.
Brock’s condition continued to deteriorate. Tegan took him back to the local medical centre where the GP again advised Tegan to take him to hospital. When she took him back to hospital on this occasion, Brock was seen by another doctor who noticed that he was very unwell and kept him in hospital overnight for further observation. That night, Brock started vomiting and having seizures due to swelling in his brain. Brock’s treating doctor performed lumbar puncture which confirmed that he had meningitis. Brock continues to receive treatment.
The repeat nature of these types of cases brings into question the appropriateness of the care and treatment offered to patients at NSW hospitals. On occasion, it raises questions about whether doctors are obtaining a full medical history from patients and whether all appropriate tests are being performed before a patient’s condition is diagnosed. It raises questions about the value placed on the advice of a GP and whether the concerns raised by a GP should warrant further examination than usual. It also highlights the instincts of a parent and whether their concerns should hold greater value.
We are experts in medical law
At Turner Freeman we have lawyers who specialise in medical negligence claims. Our Sydney partner, Sally Gleeson, along with her team of lawyers, have a dedicated practice in medical law. If you or someone you know has suffered as a result of medical negligence, including a situation in which you, or someone you know, has suffered an adverse result after a misdiagnosis at a NSW hospital, we encourage you to call us on 13 43 63 to speak with one of our medical law experts today.