Family’s anguish as man dies of meningitis

HAPPY TIMES  James Pearson, left, with his with 'June, step daughter Rachel and daughter Emma.
HAPPY TIMES James Pearson, left, with his with 'June, step daughter Rachel and daughter Emma.

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THE family of a 30-year-old man who died from meningitis has accused the NHS of letting him down.

When James Pearson fell ill with severe headaches and sickness his family contacted their GP surgery.

But stepdaughter Rachel Mott says the practice refused to send a doctor out and instead advised him to drink fluids as it was probably a 48-hour bug.

Less than five hours later, Mr Pearson was found dead. He had died of meningitis.

Rachel, 16, said: ‘I wanted someone to come and look at my dad because he was so ill.

‘He was hot, could hardly talk, and felt sick. He said he felt tired and wanted to sleep.

‘I called the doctors and explained all his symptoms and asked if they could come out but they said no.

‘They said he’d have to go there but he was just too weak to even move.

‘Then they just said to give him plenty of fluids and said he should be OK within 48 hours.

‘I first called at 4.30pm and the doctor said to call back if it got worse.

‘I then tried calling a couple of times later because I worried but couldn’t get through, it was just engaged all the time. He died about 9pm.’

An inquest into Mr Pearson’s death on December 13, last year, heard how he had started feeling ill the night before he died.

He began complaining of symptoms such as a headache, sickness, and said he was extremely tired.

It was on the afternoon of his death that his stepdaughter called the Cosham Park House Surgery.

His youngest stepdaughter Emma, nine, was the last person to see him alive about half an hour before he passed away.

Wife June Pearson found her husband dead at the foot of his bed. He had a wound on his head as it’s believed he had a seizure and fell.

Mr Pearson’s family are now set to put in an official complaint with the NHS.

Mrs Pearson, 44, from Hillsley Road, Paulsgrove, said: ‘I’m angry and upset that they wouldn’t send a doctor to see him.

‘Things could have been different. We could have at least had a chance to say goodbye.’

Coroner David Horsley, concluded that Mr Pearson died of natural causes.

NHS Portsmouth says it cannot comment on the case itself because of patient confidentiality.

But in a statement Dr Julian Neal, senior partner of the Portsdown Group Practice, which is part of Cosham Park House Surgery, said: ‘This was a tragic case and our deepest condolences are with the deceased’s family.’

He added: ‘No patient is ever refused appropriate treatment at this practice including home visits by doctors.’

Meningitis may have been linked to previous stomach bug

IT is not known how James Pearson fell ill with bacterial meningitis.

Dr Judith O’Higgins, the pathologist at the Portsmouth inquest, said it could have been related to a stomach bug Mr Pearson had in the weeks leading up to his death. Adults can get meningitis but it is more common in babies and young children, because their immune system is less developed.

Wife June said: ‘I miss him so much. It’s so strange without him. He was a such a nice man with a good heart, and was always so good with the girls. It was such a shock when he died.’

Stepdaughter Rachel added: ‘It’s hard without him. He was such a happy person, always laughing and joking.’