BOSSES at a North East hospital have launched an investigation after a schoolboy was sent home twice after medical staff failed to diagnose his fractured skull.
Matthew King was discharged from Sunderland Royal Hospital and told to take painkillers despite the head injury after he fell from his bike.
As he recovers from emergency surgery to relieve pressure on his brain, Matthew’s family hit out, claiming: “We could have lost him.”
Thirteen-year-old Matthew’s grandmother, Pauline King, 60, said: “We all feel so angry at what’s happened.
“My grandson had to have emergency surgery because of this. He’s just spent his birthday in hospital.”
Matthew, of Grangetown, Sunderland, had been playing at the city’s Silksworth skate park when he fell from his bike and his friends rang his mother, Claire King, before calling 999 for an ambulance which took him to Sunderland Royal Hospital’s accident and emergency department
Because the boy was unable to remember anything about the accident, doctors thought it best to keep him in overnight for observation before he was discharged the next day.
Mrs King, 31, continued to give Matthew painkillers during the course of the day, but became increasingly concerned as he appeared no better and was vomiting.
After contacting the hospital, an ambulance was sent out and Matthew was taken back in for more observation.
By 9pm, doctors had decided he was well enough to be discharged.
Pauline said: “We were told he had a bad concussion and we needed to keep giving him painkillers.”
When Matthew’s condition hadn’t improved by last Monday, the family contacted the NHS helpline and a paramedic was sent to the house.
Pauline said: “He told us Matthew needed to be back in hospital, so we drove him there straight away.”
It was then medics finally picked up on the fracture and decided the youngster needed to be sent to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary for emergency surgery.
Matthew went into theatre at 11pm on Monday and had his 13th birthday in hospital last Wednesday.
Pauline said the family has been left distraught by the lack of care.
She added: “He might not have been here to have a 13th birthday.
“We don’t understand why this wasn’t picked up on, not just once, but twice.
A spokesman for City Hospitals Sunderland said: “We will look into the circumstances of Matthew’s case.
“Diagnoses are clinical decisions taken at specific times on the evidence available and are, of course, taken in the best interests of the patient.
“We would like to pass on our good wishes for Matthew’s speedy recovery.”