Is enough being done to treat children with meningitis?
Meningitis and septicaemia are extremely serious conditions which can lead to death in a matter of hours. Meningitis causes inflammation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord, and septicaemia is the blood-poisoning form of the disease. Together or separately, both can have devastating consequences if not diagnosed and treated promptly. The Meningitis Research Foundation have recently published an article which highlights the increased death rates in theUK amongst children suffering from meningitis, asthma and pneumonia.
Statistics reveal that five children are dying unnecessarily every day in the UK due to failings in the NHS. The issue was also considered by The Observer who interviewed the president of the RoyalCollegeof Paediatric & Child Health, Dr Hilary Cass. She suggests that NHS care for young people is “badly organised and dangerously inadequate”, calling the situation a “major crisis”.
Dr Cass said that children suffering from diseases such as meningitis were at greater risk of dying because some GPs in the UK lacked proper paediatric skills. She also lamented the shortage of Paediatric Consultants and specialist Paediatric Units in hospitals. Research undertaken by the World Health Organisation suggests that the UK has the highest rate of preventable child deaths when compared with 13 other European countries. Apart from children involved in accidents or those suffering from severe congenital abnormalities at birth, the majority of the 6,000 children who die each year are “healthcare amenable”, meaning the child would not have died if treatment had been better. One of the Meningitis Research Foundation’s aims is to raise awareness of meningococcal diseases, educating people regarding the signs, symptoms and steps to take. The Foundation has also recently petitioned the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, to introduce a new Meningitis B vaccine. If you have any concerns please contact our medical negligence team on 0800 316 8892.