‘Cold’ turned out to be pneumonia

Emily Laking in her Hartrlepool home. Picture by FRANK REID
Emily Laking in her Hartrlepool home. Picture by FRANK REID

A TWO-YEAR-OLD girl was sent away from the One Life medical centre and told she had “cold” – but just hours later she was admitted to hospital with pneumonia.

Three days later little Emily Laking was rushed to a specialist unit, after suffering an enlarged heart due to her condition, where she spent 10 days.

She fortunately recovered – but has to take three types of medication a day and will need constant monitoring.

Emily’s furious dad, Neil, 42, said: “My daughter almost died. I don’t understand how they could not see that she had pneumonia.

“She was so ill that even as a dad I could tell it was more than a cold. I just can’t believe they missed it.”

The drama started on Thursday, July 28, when Emily went off her food and looked unwell.

The next day at 9.30am, Emily was taken to see her GP after getting worse overnight.

The family say they were told that it looked like a bad cold and that the doctor was concerned about her breathing.

She was given antibiotics and steroids and the family say they were told if she got worse she needed to be taken to the hospital straight away.

Emily’s condition got worse overnight so her mum took her to the One Life Centre, in Park Road, at 7.30am where they were seen by a medic.

They say they were told it was just a cold and she didn’t need steroids or antibiotics and were given rehydration sachets and told Emily just needed to rest.

The family had thought that One Life Hartlepool was the right place to go, even though the University Hospital of Hartlepool’s A&E unit was still open at the time of her taking ill.

Neil, a security guard who is married to Claire, 27, a teaching assistant, added: “We had no idea where to go, we wrongly believed the A&E at Hartlepool had already been closed, but we thought wherever we went we’d get the help we needed. Sadly that wasn’t the case.

“She had been vomiting constantly. She couldn’t even take fluid in.

“We took her to the One Life Centre and the medic there said he couldn’t believe the doctor had given her steroids and just gave me tablets to help rehydrate her.”

But as Emily continued to deteriorate her parents became more unhappy with the diagnosis and her dad took her to the University Hospital of North Tees at around noon,

A doctor listened to her lungs and immediately diagnosed her with pneumonia and admitted her to a ward.

Further tests showed she had a problem with her heart and three days later she was transferred to Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital under specialists where she stayed with her anxious parents by her bedside.

Emily finally began to show signs of recovery and was discharged from the Freeman 10 days later and is now recovering back home in Caledonian Road, Hartlepool. But she needs three types of medication daily and monthly check-ups.

Neil added: “We have had no apologies or anything. We are so angry.”

Bev Reilly, associate director, quality improvement, patient safety and safeguarding for NHS Hartlepool, said “We take any concerns raised by patients very seriously and would like to thank Mr and Mrs Laking for bringing this to our attention.

“We are looking into the concerns that have been raised.”