Harlow hospital pays out £1m over 'missed' meningitis

A boy left severely disabled when meningitis went undetected for days by an Essex hospital has been awarded more than £1m from the NHS.

The boy was ill for almost a week in 2002 before a diagnosis by the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, the High Court heard.

The boy, now aged 17, was left brain damaged.

The hospital admitted breach of duty in 2009 and on Monday agreed to cover the costs of the boy's care.

'Rung alarm bells'

The seven-year-old had been complaining of backache and feeling unwell when he and his parents attended accident and emergency in July 2002, his barrister Elizabeth Ann Gumbel QC stated in papers put before the High Court.

He was not admitted to the hospital or diagnosed with meningitis until early August.

The court heard that "loss of power to the left leg and arm" ought to have rung alarm bells in the minds of medical staff who saw the boy, leading to an earlier admission to hospital and diagnosis.

Had he been treated 24 hours earlier, the catastrophic brain damage would have been averted, it was claimed.

As well as a lump sum payment, the boy will receive annual, index-linked and tax-free payments to cover the costs of his care for the rest of his life.

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