But Lawyers Demand Answers As Case Shows Treatment Of Other Children May Not Have Been Investigated Properly
The mother of a child misdiagnosed with epilepsy and given harmful drugs for more than four years has expressed relief after law firm Irwin Mitchell helped win her battle for justice - despite the hospital initially claiming there were no concerns about her son’s treatment.
Hasnat Meajee, now 11, was among more than 600 children who were misdiagnosed with epilepsy by Dr Andrew Holton at Leicester Royal Infirmary between 1991 and 2001, some of whom are now suffering long term health problems.
Medical law experts at Irwin Mitchell, which operates a consulting office in Leicester, represent a number of clients in a similar situation and are demanding answers, as they believe there may be even more people whose cases have not been sufficiently investigated.
Hasnat’s case was initially dismissed, after the hospital’s own investigation concluded that there was no concern about his treatment.
However, Hasnat’s mother, Moriom Meajee, remained dissatisfied as she did not feel that the hospital’s investigation had been sufficiently thorough to answer the questions she still had about Hasnat’s diagnosis and treatment. She therefore instructed Irwin Mitchell to investigate his case, which was also considered by an independent panel of experts. They concluded that Dr Holton’s treatment of Hasnat was negligent and that he took anti-convulsant medication unnecessarily for more than 4 years.
Dr Holton was suspended by the GMC in 2001 after it was revealed that he had misdiagnosed 618 cases and given 500 children the wrong medication.
Mrs Meajee said: “As a result of Dr Holton’s misdiagnosis, Hasnat was given a combination of five unnecessary drugs over a period of approximately four years, and was often taking three or four different drugs at once.
“This medication caused Hasnat to be permanently sleepy. He was not interested in his surroundings, was unsteady on his feet and his development slowed down.
“I am extremely relieved that the hospital has now acknowledged the errors made by Dr Holton and I am very grateful to Irwin Mitchell. It has been a struggle to get to this point, and I feel that Hasnat has been let down by the hospital on two occasions; firstly in relation to his treatment, and secondly in relation to the hospital’s internal investigations surrounding Dr Holton’s actions. I still find it difficult to trust medical professionals because of what has happened to Hasnat. I hope that we can now put this ordeal behind us and begin to move on with our lives.”
Anna Stacey, a medical law expert at Irwin Mitchell, said: “It was clear that the diagnosis of epilepsy was not sound. Hasnat was not suffering from epilepsy.
“Had Mrs Meajee accepted what the hospital initially told her she would not have found out what really happened in Hasnat’s case, and we will continue to fight for the other families who feel they have been let down by the hospital’s investigation.
“It is a great concern that there may be other parents who could have been dismissed by the investigation and wrongly told that there is no concern about their child’s treatment. It is only right that they are given answers as to how the errors were allowed to happen.
“Hasnat was given the wrong drugs for more than four years, which is unacceptable. How many others are out there who have also suffered but not yet had a full investigation into their treatment?
“It is extremely worrying that the mistakes in this case were not recognised until they were questioned by us.”
Irwin Mitchell negotiated an undisclosed out of court settlement for Hasnat after the hospital admitted the problems with Dr Holton’s treatment.