Mum’s anger after doctors ‘wouldn’t listen’ over swallowed nut

Rebecca Kelly and son Charlie
Rebecca Kelly and son Charlie
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A Killicomaine woman whose toddler son was kept in hospital for five nights claimed his problem was initially missed after doctors “refused to listen” to her.

Rebecca Kelly son’s Charlie (19 months) choked on a peanut on Boxing Day, sparking a chain of treatment which ended when the nut was removed and he was allowed home on New Year’s Day.

She said, “It was so distressing. If they had listened to me it would have saved all that upset. He was stuffed full of strong steroids and antibiotics, nebulised and had to get blood taken as well.

“One of the nurses couldn’t believe it when I told her what happened. I will be making a formal complaint.”

The mother-of-two initially took her son to the Emergency Department (ED), telling the doctor she thought a piece of nut had become stuck in his lung. The doctor diagnosed a nut allergy and sent her home with medicine.

The next morning, she said, her son was struggling to get a breath and she took him back to ED where he was given an x-ray which showed no nut but an infection on the right hand side of his lung. He was admitted that day.

Said Ms Kelly, “They diagnosed my son with a chest infection, bronchitis, viral wheeze, asthma and then a doctor blamed his wheeze on reflux which my son grew out of at 11 months.

“They were pumping that much into him they had to draw blood out of him every other day to make sure his sodium levels were okay. It was awful to watch and I knew in my heart it was the peanut but no-one would listen.

“After four days in hospital I did my own research and read different stories about children that choke on things and they end up with a wheeze like Charlie but the object does not show up on the x-ray.”

After further discussion, a camera was eventually put down Charlie’s throat and the nut was located and removed.

She said, “They gave it to us in a jar. He’s fantastic now. But I’m still so angry at what could have happened if I hadn’t fought.”

A spokesperson for Craigavon Area Hospital said, “The central complaints officer is the first point of contact for service users who wish to make a comment, suggestion, compliment or complaint and can be contacted by telephoning 028 3861 4150 or emailing complaints@southerntrust.hscni.net.”