Mum’s heartbreak as 2-year-old son dies of meningitis after botched diagnosis

A mum is raising awareness after suffering the loss of her two-year-old son, who died from sepsis after doctors misdiagnosed his meningitis as a viral infection.

Arlo Bennet was rushed to A&E at Birmingham’s Heartland Hospital after suffering a seizure and being sick.

Despite the toddler showing symptoms for sepsis, the screening tool for the infection was not used as doctors initially suspected Arlo had a viral upper respiratory tract infection.

Arlo’s condition rapidly began to deteriorate, but it wasn’t until 9 hours later that the toddler was diagnosed with meningitis and given intravenous antibiotics.

The delayed recognition and treatment weren’t enough to save Arlo, who died later that day after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Reports state the root cause of Arlo’s death as a "delay in recognition and treatment of sepsis" caused by meningitis.

Arlo’s mother, Leanne, said: "Arlo was such a happy boy who was always smiling and it remains incredibly hard to talk about what happened.

"I have lost my beautiful son and Alfi his little playmate. It’s still difficult that we do not understand why Arlo was not screened and treated for sepsis, given how serious it is."

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Leanne and her partner Finton Bennett are marking World Sepsis day on September 13 by raising awareness of the life-threatening condition.

They are urging health workers to be more attentive to the symptoms of sepsis, which sees the body attack itself in response to the infection.

The mum-of-three added: "Before this, I hadn’t really heard of sepsis but it’s now something we will never forget.

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"The pain and grief have been unbearable and I don’t know whether our family will ever come to terms with it.

"I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone."

Laura Ellacott, the legal expert at Urwin Mitchell representing the family, said: "Sadly through our work, we often see the devastating consequences that families can be left to face because of sepsis.

"Awareness of the signs of sepsis and early detection are key to beating it.

"While the Hospital Trust’s own report has identified concerns in respect of Arlo’s care we welcome the recommendations it has included.

"Nothing can make up for Arlo’s death but it’s vital that these recommendations are upheld at all times so others don’t have to suffer the heartbreak that Leanna and her family have."

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