A FURIOUS mum has slammed medics for sending her three-year-old son home when hours later he was rushed to hospital with a collapsed lung, pneumonia and needing a life-saving procedure.
Little Jack Sowerby was taken to One Life Hartlepool by his frantic mum Gemma Sowerby when he was having difficulty breathing.
But she claims he was sent home after treatment and she was told to call 999 if his condition got any worse.
Just hours later Jack was rushed to hospital and eventually had to undergo a three-hour operation to drain fluid from his lungs as he battled his illness.
Fortunately, after the procedure and round-the-clock care Jack began to recover and was allowed home after a week in hospital – but he is still fighting the pneumonia.
Jack’s mum Gemma, 29, blasted medics for not sending her son straight to hospital.
She said: “I’ve completely lost all faith in One Life and I’ll never ever use it again after what happened with Jack.
“I’d rather drive to North Tees. For me, as a mam, it’s been the worst time of my life without a doubt.”
NHS Tees, which commissions services at One Life, said it would be working closely with the medical centre to see if any lessons can be learned and any areas of improvement are acted upon.
The drama began on Wednesday, March 28, when Jack was sent home ill from the nursery he attends, Footprints, in Tees Street, Hartlepool, with a high temperature.
Gemma, who works in Morrisons and is also mum to nine-month-old Millie Romani, took him to One Life where she says medics diagnosed a viral infection and sent him home with painkillers.
But three days later, on Saturday, March 31, Gemma said Jack had started “panting” and was still not himself.
She returned to One Life where Jack was placed on a nebuliser – an oxygen breathing aid – to help him.
But Gemma claims he was sent home again and she was told if his condition worsened to call 999.
She added: “They told me to take him home, and if he was no better to phone an ambulance.
“I just knew he wasn’t right, something inside me was telling me that and I couldn’t believe they were sending him home when they’d been concerned enough about his breathing to put him on a nebuliser.
“We got home, and not long after I phoned an ambulance.”
Jack was taken to the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, where a chest x-ray revealed his right lung had actually collapsed and he had fluid on both lungs.
Doctors there put the youngster on antibiotics through a drip in the hope he could battle the illness.
However, Jack was so weak that on Monday morning, North Tees’ doctors said there was nothing more they could do to aid his recovery and he would have to be transferred to Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.
There, tests discovered that no oxygen was entering Jack’s right lung and he had severe pneumonia, for which he had to undergo the operation to have the chest drain fitted.
Gemma, of Marmion Close, in the Belle Vue area of Hartlepool, said he was oxygen-dependent and on morphine for the pain until he was eventually allowed home on Sunday.
She went on: “I believed what One Life said, because you think they’ll know better.”
Health chiefs have now started an investigation.
Ali Wilson, director of commissioning and system development for NHS Tees, said: “This has clearly been a very distressing time for the family and we are pleased to hear Jack is now recovering at home.
“We take any patient concern about the service they receive seriously and are committed to making sure that all patients receive good quality care at the right time in the right place.
“We will be working closely with Assura Hartlepool, which provides the walk-in centre service at One Life Hartlepool, to see if any lessons can be learned from this case in order to ensure that any identified areas for improvement are acted upon.”
A spokesman for Assura Hartlepool said: “Patient safety is our highest priority and we take seriously any concern about the quality of care that we provide. We have not received a complaint from the patient’s family and would encourage them to contact us in order to help us with our internal investigation.
“Patient confidentiality restricts us from discussing the case any further.”