Don’t be hysterical, Doncaster doctors told mum - then her toddler son died of meningitis

Jane Hooks took 13-month-old Bobby Bushell to Doncaster Royal Infirmary on the advice of a GP
Jane Hooks took 13-month-old Bobby Bushell to Doncaster Royal Infirmary on the advice of a GP
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A MOTHER has described how her fears about her sick son were dismissed as “hysterical” by hospital staff hours before he died of meningitis.

Jane Hooks took 13-month-old Bobby Bushell to Doncaster Royal Infirmary, in South Yorkshire, on the advice of a GP but she said doctors there twice failed to spot the killer disease.

Now the family has secured a five-figure payout and an apology from the trust following a five-year battle.

Miss Hooks, 29, said: “The treatment by staff at the hospital was nothing short of disgraceful and the doctors arrogantly waved away my fears my little boy was suffering from meningitis - not once, but twice. Their attitude cost my son his life.

“If they had listened to a mother’s instinct instead of lazily dismissing me as hysterical then Bobby would be alive today.”

Bobby was taken ill on August 12, 2007.

Miss Hooks - who lives near Doncaster with her partner Craig Bushell and their sons, Riley, four, and Bailey, eight weeks - said she took Bobby to a GP who did not diagnose meningitis but advised her to take him to the hospital.

She said Bobby was screaming in pain when he arrived at the infirmary but she was asked to walk him around in his buggy because he was so loud.

A first doctor was shown the youngster’s rashes and decided to monitor him, thinking he had a viral infection. Miss Hooks said a second doctor looked at Bobby after his rash spread to four different areas.

But, she said, this registrar was “arrogant and dismissive” and refused to carry out a lumbar puncture, which would have pinpointed meningitis.

Miss Hooks said that after four hours she persuaded a third doctor to look at her son and this woman realised how serious his condition was. Eventually, he was seen by a consultant.

Bobby died the next morning.

The family’s solicitor Helen Budge, from the law firm Pannone, said Miss Hooks and Mr Bushell finally won their case against the hospital at Sheffield County Court last month.

Ms Budge said: “No amount of money could ever compensate Jane and Craig for the loss of Bobby, but the judge’s findings prove that they were right to bring this action and highlight the mistakes made at Doncaster Royal Infirmary.

“Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust denied liability and made Bobby’s parents endure a five-year struggle to achieve justice for their little boy.

“It is to be hoped that the trust has learnt lessons from this tragic episode.”

Sewa Singh, medical director of Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is a very sad case and we offer our deepest sympathies and apologies to Ms Hooks, Mr Bushell and their families for any shortcomings in the care provided to Bobby.”