Doctors Brushed Off Mom When She Reported Son’s Symptoms—Now She’s Got a Crucial Warning for Parents

British mother Gaynor McConnell, 33, could never understand why her baby boy, Cayden, always seemed to be sick.

The Daily Mail reports that the toddler fought flu-like illnesses off and on since he was born in March 2010.

Doctors knew that Cayden was born with spina bifida, a birth defect that affects the spinal cord, but that didn’t explain his near-constant illness.

Image Credit: Gaynor McConnell

McConnell told the Daily Mail:

“He was always ill, having colds and infections, but doctors said this was perfectly normal and just gave him anti-biotics.”

But she never felt quite right about the way doctors shrugged off her son’s health problems:

“I was made to feel like he was just one of those babies that is often poorly and gets every bug and illness going around.”

When Cayden was four months old, he inexplicably came down with meningitis – and it was life-threatening.

The Daily Mirror reports that the illness was diagnosed in time and doctors were able to treat him.

But an MRI taken at time showed something strange…

There was an open passage running up inside Cayden’s spine.

Image Credit: Gaynor McConnell

According to medical negligence attorney Renu Daly, that should have warned doctors that something much more serious was wrong with the infant.

But still, doctors at Addenbrook’s Hospital in Cambridge, England insisted that Cayden would be okay.

McConnell said that her boy was a “little fighter,” so when he started acting lethargic again in November 2012, she was very concerned.

Cayden was diagnosed with meningitis a second time.

The cause? A dermoid tumor in his back that doctors had somehow overlooked for years.

The tumor was removed following the second diagnosis, but it was too late for baby Cayden.

He fought for three long months before succumbing to the illness in February 2012.

Image Credit: Gaynor McConnell

The boy’s mother was devastated. She told the Daily Mail:

”I’m a different person now. It changes you as you can never be the same again. I don’t trust people in the same way I used to do.”

Daly said that the hospital should have seen and removed the tumor when Cayden was first diagnosed with meningitis at four months old:

‘They should have been aware there and then that there would have also been a dermoid tumour which needed to be removed to prevent further infection. By the time Cayden attended hospital after contracting meningitis a second time, his chances of survival were virtually obsolete.”

Now, the hospital is admitting that it was at fault.

A spokesperson for the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said in a statement:

“An investigation was carried out and the care given to Cayden fell below the standard he was entitled to expect and led to a second episode of meningitis that sadly proved fatal in 2012.”

The NHS is currently working with the boy’s family to reach a settlement.

Image Credit: Gaynor McConnell

But nothing can replace him:

“I can never forgive the doctors for how badly they let Cayden down. It is disgusting.”

McConnell says she is now trying to educate parents about the warning signs of meningitis:

“Cayden had the warning signs which, sadly, the doctors ignored, the rash is often the final symptom and not the first, like most parents think.”

According to Everyday Health, some signs of meningitis that parents can look out for include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Light sensitivity
  • Seizures
  • Agitation
  • Sudden fever or headache
  • Stiff Neck

McConnell also said she is sharing her story to give other parents the courage to go with their gut when it comes to their children’s health.

McConnell has three other children and says they have started a “new life” in Cambridge since the family’s devastating loss.

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