Norwich: Calls From Meningitis UK

Following the verdict that two-year-old Georgia Keeling from Norwich died of meningitis after a misdiagnosis of swine flu, Meningitis UK, who has supported the family, is calling for all health professionals to be alert to the symptoms of the disease.

Georgia died of septicaemia (the blood poisoning form associated with meningitis) on August 4th, 2009.

Norfolk Coroner William Armstrong recorded a narrative verdict.

He said: "An emergency care practitioner who, following an inadequate examination and assessment, erroneously diagnosed swine flu and did not arrange for admission to hospital."

He continued to say that after four hours the youngster went into cardiac arrest, stopped breathing and despite immediate medical assistance, died in hospital at 4.24pm.

Meningitis UK chief executive Kate Rowland said: "We wish to extend our sympathies to Georgia's family at what must be an extremely emotional time.

The tragedy emphasises the importance of early recognition, diagnosis and prompt treatment.

Although swine flu was rampant at the time, it is extremely worrying to hear that tell-tale symptoms such as the pin-prick rash were brushed over.

It highlights the importance of all health professionals knowing the signs of the disease and the latest guidelines set out for its treatment by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

Georgia's story also shows how vitally important it is to find vaccines to protect against all forms of meningitis.

Only through finding vaccines can we stop other families suffering the devastation and heartache meningitis can cause."

The East of England Ambulance Trust has apologised to the family and says it has already taken action.

For a free symptoms pack and further information, call Meningitis UK on 0117 947 6320 or visit www.meningitisUK.org

Classic symptoms of meningitis include a headache, stiff neck and a dislike of bright light. It can cause septicaemia, which leads to leg pain, cold hands and feet, unusual skin colour and a rash. 

Other symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia can include severe lethargy (i.e. difficulty supporting own weight and drowsiness), fever, vomiting and diarrhoea, confusion and aching limbs. It is important to trust your instincts. If you suspect anything is wrong, seek medical help immediately.

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