Boy sent home from Sunderland hospital after doctors failed to spot his fractured skull – twice

Matthew (left) with his brother Mitchel.
Matthew (left) with his brother Mitchel.
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A SCHOOLBOY was sent home from hospital twice after medics failed to diagnose his fractured skull.

Matthew King was discharged from Sunderland Royal Hospital and told to “take painkillers” despite smashing his skull in a fall from his bike.

Today, as he recovers from emergency surgery to relieve pressure on his brain, Matthew’s family hit out, claiming: “We could have lost him.”

Bosses at the hospital have said they will investigate the care provided to the Southmoor School pupil.

Matthew’s grandmother, Pauline King, 60, said: “We all feel so angry at what’s happened.

“My grandson had to have emergency surgery because of this. He’s just spent his 13th birthday in hospital.”

Matthew, of Grangetown, had been playing with pals at Silksworth skate park when he fell from his bike.

He was unable to remember what happened, so his worried friends rang mum Claire King before calling 999 for an ambulance.

Matthew was rushed to Sunderland Royal’s A&E department.

“He couldn’t recall the fall and he was very groggy,” said Pauline. “But they didn’t take an x-ray or anything.”

Due to his memory lapse, doctors thought it best to keep the schoolboy in overnight for observation before he was discharged the next day.

Mum Claire, 31, continued to give Matthew painkillers during the course of the day, but became increasingly concerned as he appeared no better and was vomiting.

After contacting the hospital, an ambulance was again sent for the teen and he was taken back in for another few hours of observation. But by 9pm, doctors had decided he was well enough to be discharged.

Pauline said: “We were told he had a bad concussion and we needed to keep giving him the painkillers.”

Throughout the following day – a Sunday – Matthew was left writhing in agony, crying on the settee of the home he shares with Claire and brother Mitchell, 10.

By Monday, the family were desperately worried and contacted the NHS helpline who sent a paramedic out to the house.

Pauline said: “He told us Matthew needed to be back in hospital, so we drove him there straight away.”

It was then medics finally picked up on the fracture and decided the teen needed to be sent straight to Newcastle’s RVI for emergency surgery.

Matthew went into theatre at 11pm on Monday and is now slowly recovering. He celebrated his 13th birthday in hospital last Wednesday.

But Pauline told the Echo the family has been left distraught by the lack of care.

She added: “He might not have been here to have a 13th birthday.

“We don’t understand why this wasn’t picked up on, not just once –- but twice.

“I’d hate to think of anyone else going through what has happened to our family in the past few days.”

A spokesman for City Hospitals Sunderland, said: “We will look into the circumstances of Matthew’s case.

“Diagnoses are clinical decisions taken at specific times on the evidence available and are, of course, taken in the best interests of the patient.

“We would like to pass on our good wishes for Matthew’s speedy recovery.”