A MUM claims doctors sent her baby away from A&E saying he just had “constipation”, only for him to be at risk of death days later.
Amie Tweed noticed her one-year-old son Teddy Tweed was not his usual bubbly self back in March.
When he started projectile vomiting, sleeping all the time and had lost his appetite, the 25-year-old knew something was amiss.
The quality assurance coach, of Maldon, Essex, claims she made several trips to the GP and A&E.
But it wasn’t until Teddy was being blue-lighted to hospital that doctors found the life-threatening cause of his symptoms.
Amie said: "He started not being his usual bubbly self about two weeks before everything started to turn south.
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"He was just not interested in playing with his toys as he used to be and just a little bit more cranky and I couldn't really settle him as well.
"He started uncontrollably projectile vomiting out-of-the-blue and he'd never done that before.
"He was very off his food. All he wanted to do was sleep. He'd wake up from a night of 10 or 11 hours sleep and would want to go straight back to sleep, which is just very abnormal."
Thinking he may initially have a stomach bug Amie gave him a couple of days to recover.
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But when he didn't, the concerned mum rang 111 and was told to visit a GP.
Teddy was checked over and advised that if his unexplained sickness continues for another 24 hours to take him to A&E for a blood test.
But she claims the next day, a blood test was refused because Teddy wasn't showing “any other symptoms”, like a fever or sore throat.
The first-time-mum said: "They asked if anything in his diet had changed and I mentioned his formula milk had been swapped.
"He said 'it could be constipation, he just needs to get some rest'."
Amie trusted her gut, however, and was on the phone to her GP the next morning.
The GP checked for signs of obvious infections and couldn't identify anything. But he referred Teddy to a paediatric ward anyway.
One of the surgeons pulled me into the room and said 'we're going to do what we can to help him but I can't guarantee everything. We'll try out best'.
After a blood test it was believed that Teddy had a “viral infection” and he was put on IV antibiotics.
Amie claims she pushed on numerous occasions for them to identify exactly what was wrong with Teddy but was advised that his symptoms were normal for a viral infection.
On March 19, Teddy took a turn for the worse while Amie and her husband, Richard, were at home.
Amie said: "I put Teddy on the floor in a sitting position and he was just laid on the floor completely lifeless.
"We called an ambulance because we knew that going to A&E wasn't going to achieve anything from what has happened before.
"My partner was holding him and he started to have seizures. I was saying his name like 'Teddy, Teddy, it's mummy' and shaking him but he wasn't responding.
"At this point I was an absolute mess. I called 999 again and said that he's got worse and wasn't responsive and the ambulance was here within five to ten minutes."
Amie said the paramedics noticed that one of his pupils was dilated, indicating there was pressure on his brain.
Teddy was taken to hospital where it was discovered he had a brain abscess a third of the size of his brain.
His parents were given the heart-breaking news that he may not survive and would need surgery to drain 100ml.
Amie said: "One of the surgeons pulled me into the room and said 'we're going to do what we can to help him but I can't guarantee everything. We'll try out best'."
Forty minutes later Amie got "the best call" she's ever had, when surgeons said the op was a success.
Amie said: "We were obviously over the moon. We'd gone to hell and back but he was going to be ok.”
Teddy had another operation to drain the abscess again on the 24 March and has since been recovering well.
Amie later discovered that during the journey Teddy was coning, meaning his brain was being forced through a small opening at the base of the skull where it meets the spinal cord.
And the cause of Teddy’s abscess had been in front of her eyes the whole time.
What appeared to be an ingrown hair on Teddy's nose since birth was actually an additional tract to his brain.
Amie said: "Since Teddy's been born he's had a tiny little hair on the bridge of his nose and sometimes it looks a little bit red.
"I thought it must have been an ingrown hair and went to the doctors and they said to just leave it alone and it will come out on its own.”
Bacteria travelling through the tract is understood to have caused Teddy’s abscess.
Amie said: "Any time he's touched something that's dirty and then touched his nose that bacteria has had a route to go straight to his brain.
"It's been a rollercoaster. But he's doing so so well.
"His recovery has shocked the doctors how quickly he was back to his normal self and he hasn't really had any lasting damage from this.
Amie’s “little fighter” will have more surgery in June to remove the tract
She said: “I don't think that anyone thinks of a brain abscess as being a cause of their child being unwell.
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"But obviously hospitals need to have better procedures in place because it wasn't taken seriously at all.
"If I hadn't been the mum that I am and not given up and kept trying, then I don't think he'd be alive.”
What is a brain abscess?
A brain abscess is a pus-filled swelling in the brain that usually occurs when bacteria or fungi enter the brain tissue, the NHS says.
This might occur when someone has a brain injury or if bacteria from an infection, such as in the ear, get past the protective blood-brain barrier.
The risk of developing a brain abscess is extremely low in England.
However, it is a life-threatening condition and should be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.
The symptoms of a brain abscess may develop quickly or slowly but can include:
- Headache – which is often severe, located in a single section of the head and cannot be relieved with painkillers
- Changes in mental state – such as confusion or irritability
- Problems with nerve function – such as muscle weakness, slurred speech or paralysis on one side of the body
- A high temperature
- A seizures (fits)
- Feeling and being sick
- Stiff neck
- Changes in vision – such as blurring, greying of vision or double vision (due to the abscess putting pressure on the optic nerve)
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