Baby girl had both feet amputated after nurse ‘prescribed Calpol for serious blood infection’


A baby girl had both her feet amputated after a nurse failed to realise she needed treatment for a serious blood infection – and prescribed Calpol, a court heard.

Chantelle Pringle was just two years old when her worried mum Keeley Grotz, 33, rang  the out-of-hours medical phone line for advice.

She told a duty nurse her baby was lethargic, short of breath, wobbly and vomiting, and the medic suggested more Calpol and told her to ring back if she still concerned.

But Chantelle, now 11, deteriorated rapidly and by the time she got to hospital a bacterial blood infection had taken hold and days later surgeons were forced to amputate her right foot and all the toes from her left.

Devastated Keeley claims the worst damage could have been avoided if Chantelle had received immediate emergency treatment.

She is suing Nestor Primecare – who run the out-of-hours service – for £1million damages at London’s High Court.

Acting on behalf of the family, Lisa Sullivan told the court Ms Grotz, of Washington, Tyne and Wear, rang the line operated by Nestor Primecare Services Ltd, in the early hours of November 17, 2004.

She said she told the nurse Chantelle was “wobbly, vomiting and just not right” and the toddler was “burning up”.

Miss Sullivan claims the nurse should have arranged for an emergency ambulance to be called – but instead she advised Calpol and told her to ring back if she was worried.

But Chantelle “kept waking up” and her mother called an ambulance in the morning after she noticed blemishes on her legs.

She was put on life support and spent eight days in intensive care where her hands and feet turned black – but the tot pulled through after surgeons removed her foot and toes.

Speaking at the time, Keeley said: “She came down with a temperature and was feeling a bit drowsy – I thought it was the flu.

“I called the emergency doctor and he said to leave her until the morning.

“Next day, I noticed she had a few spots.

“It took a couple of minutes for the ambulance to get here. I was shaking, but they took over. I didn’t want to watch. I had to leave the bedside because it was touch and go.

“I didn’t know anything about septicaemia. It wasn’t until they put her on a life support machine that they told us.

“They told me if I had waited for an emergency doctor to come, she would have died.

“The first 48 hours were the most critical, whether she would pull through or not. It was just a matter of hoping she would.

“Her feet were really black and her hands were too. You could tell they were actually gone. Her hands were saved by all the stuff she was on – the nine machines around her.”

In a two-hour operation on December 6, surgeons removed her right foot and five toes from her left.

Her family remained at her bedside until she was allowed home on December 22 and the little girl now has a false leg.

Nestor Primecare’s barrister, Gerard Boyle, said the company accepted that Chantelle “should have seen by a GP” within two hours of her mother’s call but said the outcome would have been no different.

The hearing continues.


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