A five-week-old baby was fighting for his life with swine flu last night after doctors twice told his parents he was only suffering from indigestion.
The parents of little Harvey Flanagan were initially sent away by staff with medicine to give him. They returned a day later with baby Harvey – only to be sent away again after just two hours.
Desperate father Andrew Flanagan, 29, said in the Daily Mail: "We were made to feel like we were overprotective. We were both crying in the car wondering if we were being over the top.
"It breaks my heart to say this but if we weren't persistent I don't think Harvey would be here now. It's a good job that we listened to our instincts."
The couple first took Harvey to Stepping Hill Hospital, in Stockport, Greater Manchester, eight days ago on the advice of their GP because the baby was having breathing problems.
But after waiting an hour they say they were prescribed indigestion relief Gaviscon as Harvey was also having trouble feeding.
They returned to the hospital the following evening when his condition worsened but were again told to go home.
It was only when Harvey 'turned blue' last Thursday that they rushed him to Tameside Hospital, in Ashton-under-Lyne.
Doctors there immediately had him transferred to a critical care unit at Royal Manchester Children's Hospital. He has since been diagnosed with swine flu and bronchiolitis.
Mr Flanagan said: "When he arrived at Royal Manchester they gave him treatment for swine flu before they had even had test results for the virus.
"If they had waited I think it would have been too late."
Harvey's mum, Michelle Dyer, 23, said: "He is critical but stable. He has had four days of intensive treatment and there has been some improvement. We are so angry and upset that we nearly lost our son.
"We are so worried about our baby, we couldn't bear other parents going through what we have."
The couple, who live in Stockport, are now keeping a hospital vigil along with Harvey's sister Amelia, three.
Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Stepping Hill, is investigating.
Chief executive Chris Burke said: "The trust is concerned to hear about Harvey Flanagan's situation. We will be contacting his family to discuss directly with them any concerns they may have with regard to the treatment received by Harvey at Stepping Hill Hospital."
New figures reveal at least 17 people have died from flu this winter, 10 of those from the North-west. Some 302 people, including 24 children under five, are in intensive care with the illness, said health officials.
This year's vaccine protects against three strains of flu, including H1N1 or swine flu.
More:Advice And Health
Suggested For You
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements.Learn more