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Trust compensates parents over fatal misdiagnosis

23 May 2008

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A primary care trust (PCT) has agreed to pay compensation to a couple whose baby died after doctors failed to recognise he was suffering from meningitis.

Nine-month-old Liam Eaves, from Coventry, died in hospital in August 2004 after his symptoms were mistaken for a viral infection and nappy rash.

Liam was taken to the family GP on August 18 when he first became unwell. He was coughing, grey in colour and shivering. The doctor diagnosed a suspected ear infection, prescribed painkillers and sent him home.

When his condition worsened an ambulance was called, but paramedics agreed with the GP’s diagnosis and advised against taking him to hospital.

Liam was put to bed but his rash spread and another ambulance was called. He was taken to Walsgrave Hospital in Coventry but died hours later.

His parents, Rachael and Dean Eaves, are reported to have been awarded a five-figure sum in an out-of-court settlement with the Coventry Teaching PCT.

“The PCT was aware of the original complaint made in 2004, which was dealt with under the NHS Complaints Procedure and investigated by the Healthcare Commission,” a spokesman for the trust said.

“The PCT is satisfied that all necessary and appropriate steps were taken at the time.”

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Coventry Teaching Primary Care Trust