‘Our baby daughter was sent home to die’

Texas Hird with mum and dad Adrian and Rachel. Texas was wrongly diagnosed with chickenpox and almost died of meningitis spending four days on life support.
Texas Hird with mum and dad Adrian and Rachel. Texas was wrongly diagnosed with chickenpox and almost died of meningitis spending four days on life support.

A baby girl was ‘sent home to die’ after being wrongly diagnosed with chickenpox at Pinderfields Hospital when she had a deadly strain of meningitis .

Texas Hird’s parents woke last Tuesday morning to find the 22-month-old pale, with a high temperature, blue lips and covered in a purple rash.

Terrified that it was meningitis, they called an ambulance and Texas was taken to Pinderfield’s Hospital where they say a doctor gave her ibruprofen and said it was just chickenpox.

But hours later Texas was on a life support machine at Leeds General Infirmary after being diagnosed with meningococcal septicaemia, a deadly bacterial form of meningitis.

Dad Adrian, 25, of Waterton Road, Lupset, said his daughter was sent home to die.

He said: “Texas looked like she was dying and our gut feeling was to get a second opinion, so we took her to Lupset Health Centre and the doctor there told us to get her straight back to hospital.”

The couple called for a second ambulance, but say they were horrified when paramedics questioned their call.

Mr Hird added: “They said the hospital doctors were more qualified than the local GP and didn’t put the blue lights on. It took forever to get to the hospital in bad traffic, and this time, the staff there took one look at her and rushed her into a side room.”

Texas was transferred to LGI, where she remained in intensive care for four days.

Mr Hird added: “Seeing her with all her tubes, on a machine that was doing her breathing for her, was awful. I wanted it to be me lying there, not my daughter.”

Mum Rachel Child, 25, praised the Pinderfields staff who treated her daughter during the second visit. She said: “They were brilliant and saved her life and the staff at LGI too.

“I’m just glad we didn’t listen to that first doctor because Texas might not be here now.

“I knew it wasn’t chickenpox because my other daughter has had it and the spots are completely different and I recognised the symptoms of meningitis because they are so well publicised.”

Texas was allowed home on Tuesday, and will need regular check-ups to make sure there are no lasting effects on her hearing, sight or immune system.

The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust said the symptoms of meningococcal septicaemia can be similar to a viral infection. And that young patients may be discharged if there are no clear warning signs of a meningococcal infection, but parents would be advised to return to hospital with any concerns.

Dr Richard Jenkins, medical director at the Mid Yorkshire Trust, said: “We always aim to provide the best possible care for all patients and take concerns raised about the care of young children very seriously, as with all patients.

“We will be getting in touch with the family directly to discuss their concerns.”

A spokesperson for the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust said: “We would like to apologise to the parents of Texas Hird for any distress caused following the 999 call to us on 26 November, and would be keen to discuss their concerns directly with them.

“We wish her well as she continues her recovery at home and would like to reassure the public that patients’ needs are at the heart of everything we do.”

Visit www.meningitisnow.org