Worksop mum’s horror at nearly losing baby son after doctors ‘missed’ deadly meningitis

Baby John at the time of his illness- he was four weeks old.
Baby John at the time of his illness- he was four weeks old.
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A Worksop mum who says her baby son was “minutes away from death” after doctors failed to spot he had meningitis has spoken of her horror- and is now keen to raise awareness of the illness.

Alison Grocock rushed her then four-week-old son John to Bassetlaw Hospital’s A&E department in November last year when he kept falling asleep and eventually “became completely unresposive”.

Alison Grocock is raising awareness of meningitis after A&E staff failed to diagnose her baby son with the disease. Alison is pictured with John

Alison Grocock is raising awareness of meningitis after A&E staff failed to diagnose her baby son with the disease. Alison is pictured with John

The NHS 111 worker said she knew something was wrong when John later gave a “high-pitched cry”- a known symptom of meningitis in babies.

But Alison said despitemaking her concerns known to staff at the hospital immediately, she and her husband Simon “waited hours” for John to be seen only to finally be “told he was fine and to take him home”.

Alison told the Guardian: “One doctor told me John probably had a cold but I knew there was more to it than that - something was seriously wrong. I refused to take John home and was sent to the children’s ward for him to be checked out.”

John was taken for an emergency lumbar puncture and further tests confirmed he had not only meningitis but also septicaemia.

Alison, of North Anston, added: “He was minutes from death. I was later told if I had taken John home, he would have died shortly afterwards. I am so glad I trusted my instinct.”

John is now making a full recovery, and a fundraiser will be held as part of his first birthday celebrations - with all funds raised going to a charity that has helped Alison through the experience named Meningitis Now.

Kate Carville, head of nursing and emergency care at Bassetlaw Hospitals Trust, said: “I want to apologise to Mrs Grocock for the issue she raised about the care provided to her son John.

“We have met with Mrs Grocock to discuss her concerns.

“We have also implemented some changes as a result of her experiences.”

Alison’s Meningitis Now fundraiser will be held at Worksop Cricket Ground on Saturday, September 24 from 10am to 4pm.

The event, which is free to enter, will feature a fairground and other entertainment.

Alison said: “Meningitis Now have been amazing, providing me with a 24-hour nurse line and free counselling.”