A two-year-old hospitalised for five days with a severe case of chicken pox was allegedly turned away by a GP’s receptionist.
Jasper Allen spent five days in hospital after his severe chicken pox sores – which covered every inch of his body – became severely infected.
Mum Sarah Allen, 36, claims less than 48 hours before he was rushed to hospital she was refused an appointment at her GP surgery because a receptionist “did not think the condition was severe enough”.
The mum-of-two is now calling on the government to make a vaccination against the disease, that is currently only available to certain children on medical grounds, free for all on the NHS.
“I was one of those parents who couldn’t wait for my two to get chickenpox so then it was out of the way – I didn’t think there was any harm in letting him get it,” Allen said.
“But to see him get it like that and see how it took over his body was just heart-breaking.”
“People say their child had bad chickenpox, but when we show people pictures of Jasper none of them can believe just how bad it was,” Allen continued.
“Everyone’s reactions in the hospital were just complete shock over how severe it was – the doctors all wanted to come and see this worst ever case of chickenpox.
“There was even talk about using the pictures for a medical journal. One of the paediatric nurses with 40 years’ experience said she had never seen anything like it.
“It shouldn’t have affected a healthy two-year-old as badly as it did – imagine how it could have affected a child with a compromised immune system.”
Allen, who also has daughter Poppy, five with 38-year-old husband Keith Allen, noticed a few spots on Jasper in July after the tot had first developed scarlet fever the week before.
The following morning, on 13 July, he had “hundreds” of spots so took him to his GP.
After she was reportedly “refused” a visit, she went home. On 14 July, as Jasper’s temperature continued to rise, she took him to the same GP surgery and he was prescribed antibiotics and oral medication for an infection.
Several hours later his condition had not improved so Allen visited A&E at Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon where he was quickly admitted onto the children’s ward and spent five days in hospital on an IV drip and antiviral medication, antibiotics and morphine.
“I knew I wasn’t being a neurotic mother,” Allen said. “I have two children and have run a nursery and seen hundreds of kids with chickenpox before so I knew this wasn’t normal.
“They should listen to parents more – we know our babies better than anybody in the world.
“We couldn’t hold him for three days because he screamed every time we touched him.”
Allen said doctors do not know why the chickenpox Jasper contracted was so severe and the tot is currently undergoing heart scans to make sure there are no lasting effects.
She is now calling on the government to make the chickenpox vaccination part of the NHS’s routine childhood immunisation schedule so it is automatically available for all children.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health said: “Chickenpox is usually a mild illness in children with most recovering quickly.
“The vaccine is not routinely offered to children although the Government’s expert vaccination advisors are reviewing this.
“The vaccine aims to protect those who are at risk from serious illness.
“That’s why it is recommended for children with family members who are undergoing medical treatments such as chemotherapy which can affect immunity.”
A spokesperson for Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, which runs the children’s services on the Hinchingbrooke Hospital site said: “We can confirm Mrs Allen’s statement that Jasper Allen was treated on our children’s inpatient ward for five days with a severe case of chicken pox.”
Chicken pox vaccination
Source - NHS Direct.
- The chickenpox vaccination is not part of the NHS childhood vaccination programme. It is only offered where there is a clinical need, such as the child is likely to come into contact with people who are particularly vulnerable to chickenpox i.e. those having chemotherapy.
- Health experts believe introducing a chickenpox vaccination for all children could increase the risk of unvaccinated adults catching chickenpox or shingles.
- A number of private travel clinics offer chickenpox vaccinations.
For more information on the treatment of chicken pox in children, visit the NHS website.
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