A distraught mum was forced to endure a six-hour wait at Lincoln A&E, with her gravely ill baby son, who had contracted meningitis.
Jessica Mustafa, from The Belfry, Grantham, first contacted 111 when six-week-old Maliki developed a fever on Friday night.
Jessica said: “He had a fever of 38.4 and his skin was slightly sucking into his ribs. He was unusually sleepy too. The operator requested an ambulance straight away. She assured me that one had been requested but could not give an estimated time of arrival, so we had an excruciating hour’s wait before the paramedics arrived by car and examined Maliki. They said that he needed to go to Lincoln or Boston by ambulance as an emergency, but as we would have a long wait for one to become available, they advised us to take him ourselves.”
By the time that the family arrived at Lincoln County Hospital A&E at 1am on Saturday, Maliki had developed a few blanching spots on his back and was screaming, but it was another hour before he was seen by a nurse.
Jessica added: “By this point, the spots covered his back, neck and had started to appear on his chest and left arm. I expressed my concerns about meningitis, but the nurse didn’t think that he had it and that it would be about another hour and a half before we were to be seen by a doctor. We went back to the waiting room. Maliki was screaming and irritable.”
But as the hours passed, Jessica grew concerned that Maliki was getting hotter and requested for someone to come and take his temperature, but said that no one came.
Eventually at 7.30am, six-and-a-half hours after first arriving at A&E and 10 hours after first contacting 111, Maliki was finally seen by a doctor, who diagnosed him with bronchitis.
Jessica added; “She said that he wouldn’t need any medication and we would be able to go home. But shortly afterwards, a paediatrician arrived and gave him a thorough examination and said they suspected sepsis, took blood and gave him some fluids, paracetamol, ibuprofen and several antibiotics. We were taken to the children’s ward and it was then that they said that they needed our permission to do a lumbar puncture to test for conditions affecting the brain, spinal cord or other parts of the nervous system.”
Shortly afterwards, Maliki was diagnosed with meningitis.
Jessica added: “Since we saw the paediatrician, every member of staff has been fantastic and has explained everything. We are hopeful that Maliki will make a full recovery but I would never want any other family to go through what we have been through this weekend. Why are we being made to wait? Why are we waiting for ambulances and doctors? Why is a six-week-old ill baby not prioritised? It took 10 hours from when I made the first call to 111 until we saw a doctor. I want answers.”
United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust has now launched an investigation.
Director of Operations Simon Evans said: “We would like to offer our sincere apologies to Maliki’s family for the delay they experienced in Lincoln A&E on Friday night. We have launched an investigation into what happened.
“Unfortunately, the A&E department was extremely busy overnight, with a high number of seriously ill patients. All patients were prioritised according to clinical need, which unfortunately meant that some patients did have to wait longer than we would like.”