Boy, 5, dies of sepsis hours after being sent home from A&E with 'stomach bug'


Theodore Paul Cheetham-Serjent, known by his loved ones as Theo, passed away in Wigan Infirmary less than 24 hours after his mother, Paula, had taken him to A&E with cold feet and hands, very hot legs, diarrhoea and a temperature, according to Manchester Evening News. An inquest into Theo’s death has heard that trainee Dr Grace Olowonyo gave what has been described as a “presumptive diagnosis” of gastroenteritis.

Before being sent home from A&E, Theo was given McDonald’s chicken nuggets as a “threat for being a brave boy”.

But that evening, he began vomiting and his mother called an ambulance.

Believing that the boy had sepsis, paramedics gave antibiotics.

At 8.20am on December 30, 2019, while he was incubated, Theo suffered a heart attack.

Medics were able to resuscitate him, but were unable to do so when Theo suffered a second heart attack.

He was pronounced dead at 9.03am the same day.

It was later confirmed that septicaemia (neisseria meningitis Type B) was the cause of death.

Coroner Timothy Brennand told Bolton Coroners Court that Dr Olowonyo’s diagnosis may have been “entirely erroneous” but was “not unreasonable in the circumstances”.

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“The tragedy of course in this case is that in fact, but she would know it, it is likely on the balance of probabilities that at that time Theo was within the grip of a meningococcal infection that had not manifested itself with obvious symptoms.

“It’s very telling that the doctor, when she found out about the news, was simply shocked and could not face coming to work the following day, because of the enormity of her differential diagnosis.”

He added: “These are decisions that clinicians and families have to live with for the rest of their lives.”

Theo has been described as a “vibrant and intelligent” boy.

Mr Brennand paid tribute to his family their their “dignity, restraint, insight [and] concern”during the inquest.

Additional reporting by Nick Jackson.



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