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Doctor pays for meningitis error

22 November 07 17:29 GMT

A Wiltshire doctor has agreed to pay substantial costs towards the care of a young patient who lost both her legs to a form of meningitis.

Lydia Cross, now of Braunton, Devon, was two years old when the disease struck in 2003.

When she became ill her mother rang Dr John Harrison's Malmesbury surgery but was denied a home visit.

The family argued that if the doctor had visited that morning, septicaemia could have been successfully treated.

Emergency appointment

Lydia had suffered a high fever, sickness and hallucinations throughout the weekend before her mother, Jodie Cross, called Dr Harrison's surgery

She was denied a home visit because it was against surgery policy.

Later Dr Harrison rang Mrs Cross to say he thought Lydia only had a virus, but after the sickness persisted she was offered an emergency appointment with her GP some six hours later.

She was given penicillin and oxygen before being rushed to hospital.

On Thursday, a High Court judge approved a settlement that will involve Dr Harrison paying 85% of Lydia's care costs.

Each new set of legs for Lydia is thought to cost around £10,000.

Dr Harrison was not in court but issued a statement in which he apologised to Lydia and her family for the distress they have had to endure over the past two years.

He added although he felt at the time he did the best he could for Lydia, he later realised that he could have done more for her.

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