Expectant mum in agony with pneumonia and measles turned away from hospital three timesCascade


A pregnant mum worried that she could lose her unborn baby was turned away from hospital - even though she had pneumonia and measles.

Leah Painell said on three occasions hospital staff dismissed her severe rash, temperature and pain as a 'virus'.

The 23-year-old, from Thamesmead, south London, was first taken to hospital on February 4, complaining she was in agony and worried she might lose her baby.

She told her local paper that staff at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Woolwich, south London, told her to take paracetamol for a 'virus'.

She said she was then kept for hours in waiting rooms or small cubicles without a bed as staff quibbled over which department was responsible for her.

Eventually, she says she was diagnosed with measles and pneumonia - and given the devastating news her baby might be stillborn, deaf or blind.

Her mother Rosemarie Smith, 44, said: "I thought I was losing my daughter and my grandson. I have never ever seen anything like it in my life - I think it is absolutely disgusting.

"If they had dealt with her sooner it might not have got that far, but the fact she went through hell and back was unbelievable."

She said a nurse gave the family the telephone number for her local Patient Action Group (PAG) who paid for a private scan, showing the baby boy was healthy, although there are fears he may be born deaf or blind.

Leah said: "I am feeling better. Just a little bit depressed, a little teary. I am worried about the baby."

A PAG spokeswoman said: "The case of Leah Painell is one of the worst to date. [The concern is] not just [for] the life of Mrs Smith's daughter Leah, but also her unborn child."

A spokesman for South London Healthcare Trust, which runs Queen Elizabeth Hospital, said; "We are looking into the circumstances around the care of this patient including working with colleagues from a neighbouring NHS organisation which runs the Urgent Care Centre she initially attended."