Pregnant woman left distraught after her measles and pneumonia – which could leave her child stillborn – were dismissed by doctors as a virus
Leah Painell, 23, who is 15 weeks pregnant, complained she was in agonyClaims staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich diagnosed 'virus'After suffering for a week was diagnosed with pneumonia and measlesHer mother claims hospital refused to give her scan to check baby's health
12:29 GMT, 20 February 2013
12:31 GMT, 20 February 2013
An expectant mother suffering from pneumonia and measles was turned away by hospital staff three times after a severe rash, temperature and pain were dismissed as a 'virus'.
Leah Painell, from Thamesmead, south London was first taken to
hospital on February 4, complaining she was in agony and worried she might lose her unborn child.
The 23-year-old claims staff at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Woolwich, south London, told her
to take paracetamol for a 'virus'.
Leah Painell, 23, pitcured with her partner Ryan, says hospital staff told her to take paracetamol for a 'virus'
She claims 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 measles and pneumonia – and given the devastating news her baby might be stillborn, deaf or blind.
Ms Painell said her week-long ordeal included being kept waiting in cramped cubicles where she had 'sky-high' temperatures, severe stomach pain and soiled sheets which had to be changed by her boyfriend.
Leah Painell, pictured at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in south London, was turned away three times
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 the family was turned 'upside down' with worry during the agonising week and claims the hospital refused to give the baby a scan to check his health.
The-mother-of-three said: 'By Saturday night, Leah was very poorly and very scared and we didn’t know what to do so we took her back again.
'By Sunday morning we were pacing the floors – I can’t explain to you in words how ill she was.'
She says a nurse gave the family the telephone number for the 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.
Ms Painell 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.'
She went on to praise 'whistleblowers' at the hospital where she says there are many reports of bed shortages, a lack of oxygen supplies, and early patient discharges at the hospital.
The main entrance to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich, South East London, where Leah experienced a week-long ordeal
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.
'The patient hasn't complained to us or contacted us directly but we are keen to resolve any issues, so we would advise that the patient contacts our Patient Advice and Liasion Service.'