Ipswich: Investigation launched into mum’s claim her plea for medic was ignored while daughter’s condition worsened

Sophie Burgess, 8, and her mother Sam Burgess

Sophie Burgess, 8, and her mother Sam Burgess - Credit: Archant

A RECEPTIONIST has been suspended and a full investigation launched after a mother claimed she was ignored four times despite pleading for a doctor as her daughter’s condition rapidly deteriorated.

Sam Burgess says daughter Sophie was eventually rushed into Ipswich Hospital’s intensive care where medics saved her life after discovering she had developed a bacterial infection in her wind pipe.

The youngster, who turned eight on Friday, was eventually diagnosed with tracheitis, a condition which causes the trachea to swell causing patients to struggle breathing.

The Dale Hall Primary School pupil was put on a breathing ventilator – but hours later Mrs Burgess and husband Michael were told the youngster had stopped responding, was in a critical condition and it was touch and go whether she would survive.

“I don’t think we could really believe what we were hearing,” Mrs Burgess added.

“My little girl nearly died because I was ignored.”

“I am so angry. If a mother tells you their child isn’t well, someone should listen. As a mum you know your kids.”

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The 33-year-old said she suspected Sophie had tonsilitis and so called the out-of-hours GP service, operated by private healthcare provider Harmoni, on Sunday, March 3 at around 1.30pm.

She secured an appointment for 5.40pm. But after arriving at the hospital where the service is now based, Sophie’s condition quickly worsened.

“Within half-an-hour Sophie started to go downhill. I knew something wasn’t right,” said the mum-of-three.

“She was struggling to breathe. I told the receptionist four times that Sophie was deteriorating and was told we were not an urgent case and that there were people of higher priority.”

Sophie was finally seen by a GP at 7.30pm, when a paediatrician at the hospital was called. Within 20 minutes, Mrs Burgess said her daughter was rushed into theatre, where doctors inserted a tube into her airways.

But by 2am on Monday, doctors were preparing the youngster’s parents for the worst.

“I hate to think what could’ve happened,” Mrs Burgess added.

“It could have been a very different ending.”

Mrs Burgess, of Preston Drive, Ipswich, has lodged a formal complaint with Harmoni. A full investigation has been launched into the matter.

She says the company called her to inform her the recptionist in question had been suspended pending the outcome of the probe.

Sophie spent 48 hours in intensive care and was eventually allowed home last Friday.

“It is a good job they (out-of-hours GP) are based on the same site as the hospital,” said Mrs Burgess.

“One doctor told me if we had been at the Riverside Clinic (where the service was previously based) we might not have had time to get her into theatre. Any longer and we could’ve lost her.”

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