Wigan mum’s fury at missed sepsis diagnosis

Wigan Infirmary
Wigan Infirmary

Hospital staff failed to diagnose a young Wigan boy had sepsis and then treated him poorly, his unhappy mum has claimed.

Debra Elstins, from Springfield, hit out at the treatment her two-year-old son Jacob suffered when he became seriously ill and needed help from Wigan Infirmary.

She says A&E employees could have realised Jacob had sepsis a few days before he was eventually rushed to hospital and then straight into an operating theatre.

She said some of the treatment was so rough that when he was transferred to Alder Hey the Liverpool hospital actually contacted Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh (WWL) NHS Foundation Trust asking why the tot was so terrified of medical staff.

WWL has now met with Ms Elstins, of Wall Street, to discuss her concerns about Jacob’s care after an investigation into her complaints was opened. In the end Jacob spent several weeks in hospital and still has to go for follow-up appointments even though he became ill in spring.

Ms Elstins said the ordeal started when Jacob fell off a bed and she noticed he was limping slightly, leading her to decide the problem needed checking out.

She said: “They did an X-ray and said everything was OK and sent him home.

“Two days later he started becoming unwell so I took him back and they did blood tests. They said he had a bit of an infection in the joint of his hip but he would be OK.

“Two days later he had got worse but I was told over the phone to take him to the doctor’s surgery. He couldn’t move because of his leg by this stage.

“I rang an ambulance again and they just grabbed hold of him and rushed him straight back to A&E. Within 45 minutes he was in surgery. They had to cut his hip open because it was all infected.

“A doctor told me the second time I took him to A&E the blood tests showed what was wrong. His inflammation levels were really high yet they still sent him home.

“If I had left him a few more hours he might not have been here.

“It’s disgusting because at Wigan hospital there are signs everywhere saying how serious sepsis is.”

Jacob was put onto a ward at Wigan Infirmary but Ms Elstins found herself newly concerned about his treatment.

She said: “He was so ill his veins were collapsing so they couldn’t get canulas in. He needed so much medication and they were holding his mouth open but he didn’t want to take it.

“The nurses were so forceful with him. Sometimes they would pin him down. On one occasion they held his face while they gave him medication.

“After 10 days in Wigan Infirmary we came home and a district nurse came every day to give him injections. After a week we went back to Wigan Infirmary and got four boxes of medications which I said he wouldn’t take.

“A few days later he became very unwell again. The sepsis hadn’t gone and we were transferred straight to Alder Hey.”

Ms Elstins says it was at the Liverpool hospital that she got extra confirmation things had gone badly wrong while Jacob was treated in the borough.

She said; “Alder Hey sent an email to Wigan Infirmary very concerned over the treatment Jacob had received because he was petrified of nurses.

“They were absolutely brilliant with him. They ended up sedating him and putting a long line in, which is what Wigan should have done.”

Ms Elstins said WWL got in touch a few months ago to say an investigation had been opened and she was able to speak about her concerns to senior medical staff.

The Trust says it would be happy to speak to the family again.

A spokesperson said: “It is always the intention of the Trust to be open an honest when responding to concerns raised by families or when identified by the Trust.

“The Trust can confirm that Ms Elstins has met with the consultant paediatrician and the acting matron for child health in August 2018 following the concerns highlighted at the time. A report was shared with Ms Elstins following this meeting.

“The Trust has subsequently written to the grandmother of Jacob in line with the NHS Complaints Procedure, with the consent of Ms Elstins, in response to the questions she has raised.

“The Trust would be happy to arrange for Ms Elstins to meet again with representatives from the Trust if this is required.