A mum claims her baby daughter was turned away from hospital three times in a week – as doctors failed to spot signs she was suffering from potentially fatal Scarlet Fever.
Sheryl Russell, 19, says she repeatedly begged doctors to help 19-month-old Amelia Russell Jones Duval.
She even claims that on one occasion the tot was made to sleep on the floor for seven hours before being seen.
Over four days, the youngster grew increasingly lethargic as itchy blotches broke out all over her body, before tests were finally carried out to diagnose her symptoms.
She was found to be suffering from Scarlet Fever, a highly contagious illness that causes a distinctive pink-red rash, fever and can lead to serious complications if not treated.
Hospital chiefs have denied her claims.
Sheryl said: “It’s disgusting that it took so long for them just to test her, let alone treat her properly.
“We kept being told it was a viral infection and that there was nothing they could give her but she just kept getting worse.
“I told them there was more to it and it was mother’s instinct that made me go back time and time again.
“I’m glad I did because if I didn’t, the worst could have happened and I would never have forgiven myself.
“I want parents to have the courage to persist when they know something is wrong because Amelia’s care was despicable.”
Amelia was first admitted to Lewisham Hospital in London last Monday (14/02) after suffering a seizure triggered by a fever.
Despite arriving at A&E by ambulance, Sheryl claims her daughter was forced to sleep on the floor for seven hours before being seen by a doctor.
“There said there were no beds for her and all the chairs were taken so the only place she could lie down was the floor,” she said.
“You could tell just by looking at her that she was really poorly but no matter how many times I asked when she’d be seen, there was no urgency.
“She was very sleepy and I think because she was quiet, they thought they could just ignore her.”
But after having her ears and throat examined, Sheryl claims she and her partner Darryl Jones, 23, were told she was suffering from a viral infection which couldn’t be treated.
They were sent home to Catford, London, where the toddler grew increasingly unwell.
On Wednesday, Sheryl rushed her back to the A&E department, fearing her daughter might have been suffering from meningitis.
She said: “She was really blotchy and covered in spots, and looked like she had a serious skin disease.
“Again we were told is was a viral infection and that the hospital couldn’t treat it.
“But just by looking at it I knew something wasn’t right and so did everyone else who saw her.”
After being sent home for the second time, the couple returned to the hospital on Thursday, only to be told once again Amelia was suffering from a viral infection which would go away in its own time.
They returned for a final time on Friday after Amelia’s hands, feet, face and toes began to swell – when Sheryl claims doctors finally began to take the tot’s condition seriously.
“The doctor who we saw hadn’t seen Amelia previously and immediately she said they needed to do tests.
“No-one had even suggested tests before but they did an X-ray and took some blood from her straight away.
“I was just pleased someone was finally taking me seriously because I was starting to fear for my daughter’s life.”
Amelia was immediately started on a seven-day course of antibiotics which should clear the infections, but the couple, who also have 14-week-old daughter Roseanne, say they have been told to return if Amelia’s symptoms worsen.
Full-time mum Sheryl added: “Luckily it was caught in time, but imagine if we had been sent away one last time.
“Amelia could have ended up fighting for her life. The moral of this story is always trust your instincts no matter what a doctor says.
“If you think they’re wrong, get a second, third, fourth or even a tenth opinion until you’re satisfied.”
A spokesman for Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust said individual cases could not be commented on due to patient confidentiality.
He added: “The allegations on Facebook about Amelia’s treatment are not true and are deeply upsetting for our staff.
To support her, visit https://www.change.org/p/
Scarlet fever was once thought of as a disease of Victorian age that more or less died out years ago.
However recently cases of the disease have soared.
According to Public Health England, 6,157 children have been diagnosed since September, while 17,586 cases were reported in England during 2015, compared to just 1,678 in 2005.