A Market Rasen mum whose daughter died from a brain tumour is concerned lessons are not being learned in Lincolnshire’s hospitals after she claims further mistakes were made when her youngest child needed emergency care earlier this year.
Andrea Burkill’s daughter Claudia died in 2014 following a brave three-year battle with cancer, which she said was previously diagnosed as a virus at Lincoln County Hospital A&E in 2011.
To make matters worse, six years on Andrea claims mistakes were made once more when her week-old daughter Aurelia was treated for severe jaundice.
These worry allegations come in the week United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust started an investigation after six-week-old Maliki Mustafa from Grantham was forced to wait at Lincoln A&E for over six hours before being diagnosed with meningitis.
Claudia’s family first noticed in June 2011 that she was not herself, as she was vomiting, losing weight, pale and starting to be ‘incredibly clumsy’.
After taking Claudia to Lincoln County Hospital to be seen at the request of their GP, Andrea said doctors discharged Claudia, stating it was a virus.
She was taken back to the hospital the following day to have a CT scan, lumbar puncture and MRI scan.
Andrea claims that according to Lincoln County Hospital, results were clear.
Claudia’s family then requested to be moved to a different hospital. This is when they moved to Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham.
Andrea told Lincolnshire Reporter: “Although I know there are some fabulous individuals who work in the NHS and several at Lincoln County Hospital, I personally had an awful experience with some….although not all.
“Some of the nursing staff were rude and made me feel totally alienated as they genuinely believed that there was nothing wrong with Claudia and that she was taking up bed space for no reason other than I had a fantasy that something was wrong with my daughter.
“Claudia’s was the biggest misdiagnosis ever.
“My biggest issue with Claudia was not the lumbar puncture or the CT scan but the MRI.
“This scan is incredibly in depth and it was the copy of Lincoln’s scan that I took to QMC.
“This is where they very first saw her brain tumour.
“It was the evening of Friday, June 17. Obviously, QMC couldn’t tell me this or officially diagnose from Lincoln’s results so they ordered an emergency MRI on the Saturday.
“This official MRI scan completed by QMC confirmed the tumour.”
Despite being given six weeks to live, Claudia survived for an incredible 40 months before sadly passing away on October 25, 2014.
Andrea added: “There was due to be a huge meeting called by the consultant looking after Claudia at QMC, which we were invited to due to the overall poor care offered locally, although sadly, this meeting never took place due to Claudia’s untimely death.”
A fundraising page was made when Claudia was first diagnosed with cancer. The page continues in memory of Claudia, with over £200,000 having been raised for The Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre and other charities.
Mistakes second time round
Three years on from Claudia’s death, Andrea claims that serious mistakes continue to be made.
In March 2017, Andrea gave birth to Aurelia, and just days later faced another emergency at Lincoln County Hospital.
Andrea said: “My baby daughter Aurelia was an emergency admission shortly after her birth in March of this year (she was less than a week old) and mistakes were made there too.
“She had severe jaundice after her birth. She was 12lbs 2oz and it is harder for big babies to recover without treatment.
“They even discussed a blood transfusion as her levels were so high. She was monitored with regular blood tests.
“The doctor had written her up for double phototherapy and so she was placed under two machines.
“Several hours later, someone came in and took her off one machine as apparently double meant double tubed machine opposed to two separate machines which was giving her way too much exposure apparently.
“The problem was a miscommunication to what exactly double meant.
“After that Aurelia had very regular blood tests of which I requested the actual results opposed to the doctor’s interpretation.
“A doctor then requested another 12 hours treatment because he wasn’t looking at her most recent results.
“I argued and asked them to recheck and there was a more recent blood test taken that morning which showed she had gone back into normal range… I don’t know if the extra treatment could have proved harmful but I do know it has been connected to cancer.
“Given the fact that her sister had already died from cancer, this upset me greatly.
“That along with the fact that I had been shut in a side room for two days with a sick baby and that side room happened to be the one that Claudia had used.
“I am not ashamed to admit that I cried, a lot, after being incredibly emotional from only giving birth a few days before and being separated from my husband and other children.”
Dr Neill Hepburn, medical director at Lincoln County Hospital, said: “We would like to offer our sincere condolences to Mrs Burkill and her family on the very sad death of her daughter Claudia.
“We have never received a formal complaint from the family about either of the concerns she has raised and so we would not have been able to offer an apology.
“If the family would like to get in touch with us, we would be able to investigate their concerns.”