Barking boy with meningitis nearly died after he was sent home from A&E

Jas Bhogal with her son Hartej now aged 5. Jas is fundraising to raise awareness and donate to the h

Jas Bhogal with her son Hartej now aged 5. Jas is fundraising to raise awareness and donate to the hospital unit which saved her son who was suffering from meningitis. Picture Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

A mother whose son went into septic shock with meningitis after being turned away from A&E is fundraising for a specialist centre which saved his life.

Jas Bhogal, 35, from Barking, went through every parent’s “worst nightmare” when four-year-old Hartej was sent home ill from his school in Chadwell Heath last November.

He had a high temperature, cold hands and vomiting, so Jas rushed him to King George Hospital’s A&E in Goodmayes where he was diagnosed with a viral infection and sent home.

“Something was telling me this was not just a minor illness. As a mum you just know,” she said.

“I took him to my GP and asked if it was meningitis, but she said ‘definitely not’ and we were sent home again.”


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Hartej slipped in and out of consciousness and a rash appeared on his body.

His organs started to fail and he went into septic shock.

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Calling 999, his parents were “lucky” to be given one of eight beds at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, which has a unit for critically ill children.

“He had deteriorated and they said his chances of survival were very slim. It felt surreal, all we could do now was hope and pray for a miracle to happen.”

The staff at the hospital worked round the clock to stabilise Hartej and a week later he was transferred to a normal ward.

The specialist treatment Hartej needed was only available at the St Mary’s unit, run by charity Cosmic.

The family hope to raise funds for the hospital by hosting a dinner and dance. There will be a three course meal, and entertainment, on April 29, at the Marriott Hotel, Canary Wharf, from 6.30pm to 11.30pm.

Magda Smith, associate Mmedical director, for the trust that manages King George Hospital said:

“We’re really pleased that there was a happy outcome for Hartej and his family, and that they’re doing such a wonderful thing by raising money for the charity which helped save his life.

“Meningitis can be extremely difficult to diagnose in the early stages. We will be in touch with the family so we can review what happened here and see what we can learn from Hartej’s care with us.”

For tickets to the dinner and dance click here.

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