Doctor dismissed 10-month-old baby’s symptoms as common stomach bug - hours before she died of septicaemia caused by meningitis

An inquest heard that a GP diagnosed tiny Lily Teale with gastroenteritis before she was rushed to hospital after becoming unresponsive

A doctor dismissed Lily Teale's symptoms as gastroenteritis just hours before she died of septicaemia caused by meningitis, an inquest heard (Rebekah Watson/SWNS)

A GP dismissed a 10-month-old baby’s illness as a common stomach bug hours before she died of septicaemia caused by meningitis, an inquest was told.

After suffering from a high fever, vomiting and diarrhoea, Lily Teale was rushed to a doctor’s surgery on 22 November 2017.

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A doctor then diagnosed the tiny baby with gastroenteritis, before advising her mum Rebakah Watson to keep giving her Calpol.

Only hours later, Lily was rushed to hospital when her lips turned blue and she became unresponsive.

The tot tragically died at Doncaster Royal Infirmary the same night.

Post-mortem examinations revealed Lily had meningococcal meningitis W and her cause of death was recorded as septicaemia caused by meningitis.

Ms Watson has since called for the age at which the vaccine is given to be lowered to prevent similar deaths.

‘She felt boiling hot’

An inquest into her death, held at Doncaster Civic Chamber, today (Tuesday 4 May) heard Lily had suffered from tonsillitis a month before her death but had generally been fit and well.

Ms Watson said that on 21 November, after seeming "completely fine" all day, Lily woke up screaming and she recorded a temperature of around 39.4.

Ms Watson said: "I first became aware something was wrong in the early hours of the morning, she woke me up screaming."

Asked by the coroner if this was unusual for Lily, Ms Watson said yes.

She added: "She felt boiling hot. She vomited in the spare bedroom after I got her out of the cot.

"I rang 111 and explained what happened and how high her temperature was. They advised she needed to be seen within 12 hours by a GP.

"Lily was shaking, her body was vibrating. I had not seen her like that before.

"It was like she was hot but freezing, like when you're cold and you're shaking, but she was red hot. I could see her shaking, her lip was trembling.

"I was trying to keep her awake and she was falling asleep."

Ms Watson told the inquest she did not see any lumps, bumps or rashes on Lily's body at this point and was advised to make a GP appointment the next day.

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‘When she woke up she was screaming’

She told the coroner that she couldn't get an appointment with her GP so instead rang a same-day health centre in Doncaster and managed to get Lily seen by a doctor there.

The doctor diagnosed her with gastroenteritis and advised Ms Watson to continue giving Lily Calpol.

Ms Watson added: "She was very, very clingy. She was attached to me. As soon as she woke up, she was screaming, I had to have her with me at all times. She was warm but her temperature had come down a bit.

"I was told by the GPs there were no appointments and I should ring the same day health centre.

"I got off the phone and got in the car and pretty much got there straight away.

"Lily started vomiting while we were in the waiting area. She was hot, but she was spaced out."

Ms Watson said she explained to the doctor about Lily's sickness and that she was worried as "she wasn't herself".

She told the inquest: "He took her temperature and listened to her chest. I told him she'd had tonsillitis and asked him to check her throat. I wasn't in very long.

"I thought the tonsillitis had come back. I explained her dad had been poorly and that me and her sister had been poorly.

"I was told she had gastroenteritis and told to give her Calpol but not Ibuprofen."

Ms Watson told coroner Louise Slater she was not given any more advice on what changes to Lily to look out for.

She said later that day, Lily fell asleep on the sofa and her lips turned blue.

It was only then Ms Watson noticed a rash on Lily's body under her nappy when she went to change her.

GP said there were ‘no obvious symptoms’ of septicaemia

She added: "It was just under the top of her nappy. I could see it growing."

The inquest heard Dr Ben Saward, the GP who assessed Lily, had not recorded a respiratory rate test in his notes of the consultation.

He told the coroner he came to the conclusion that Lily had most likely had gastroenteritis as her temperature and heart rate was "in the normal zone".

He said: "My personal opinion was she had gastroenteritis and my advice was to drink fluids and monitor the number of wet nappies Lily produced to keep an eye on her hydration levels."

Sufiyan Rana, representing the family, asked Dr Saward if he had checked under Lily's nappy for a rash.

He said there was no reason to check for a rash as there were no obvious symptoms of septicaemia.

Ms Watson has launched a fundraising page in Lily's honour after her death. Visit here to donate.

The inquest, expected to last three days, continues.

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