NHS bosses are investigating claims a GP misdiagnosed a two-year-old girl’s leukaemia symptoms as “toddler bruising” and sent her home after a quick check-up.
Dr David Pelta, 63, senior partner at Queensway Surgery, in Queensway, Southend, only looked at the child for about 30 seconds before saying “there is nothing we can do”, according to claims made by the child’s mother, Sarah Sargent.
Mrs Sargent, 31, of Albert Road, Southend, makes her claims in an official statement to NHS England and has been visited by case investigator David Barter, who is leading the probe.
She returned to the surgery when her daughter Lacey’s condition worsened and saw another doctor who referred her for tests at Southend Hospital, where blood cancer was confirmed.
Dr Pelta has voluntarily left the practice while the complaint is investigated.
In a separate matter, the General Medical Council has placed a number of restrictions on the work he could do due to concerns over his medical notes, as revealed last week in the Echo.
Still smiling: Lacey and Sarah Sargent
Mrs Sargent said: “A week before I took her to see Dr Pelta, I became concerned about a bruise on her leg.
“Then on August 28, 2013, I spoke to the pharmacist because the bruises were forming if you just touched her. She said he should get tests done because it could be a blood disorder.”
She said Dr Pelta briefly looked at Lacey, but carried out no tests.
After telling him what the pharmacist suggested, he agreed to send her for a blood test, but assured her it would be negative, she claimed.
Mrs Sargent said an appointment was made for two weeks later, but by Friday, August 30, her daughter’s ankles were so swollen, she went back.
She added: “I went back to the surgery and saw Dr Michael Jack. He carried out lots of checks and said she needed an immediate referral to Southend Hospital.”
Complaint: Queensway Surgery
Lacey was transferred to Addenbrooks Hospital in Cambridge the next morning after blood tests showed she had leukaemia. Mrs Sargent added: “She is in remission now until 2015 and has stayed happy, but she has gone through so much.
“We were told that if the blood test had been left for two weeks, she could have died.”
The Queensway Surgery declined to comment.
Want answers: The Sargent family
Dr Pelta would also not comment from his home in Drake Road, Westcliff, yesterday, but later he issued a statement through the Medical Protection Society, which said: “While matters are being investigated, I voluntarily agreed not to attend the practice.
“I cannot comment while there is an investigation taking place.”
Ian Stidston, director of commissioning for NHS England Essex, said: “Where service standards are not being met, NHS England will always take action to determine why, as the ongoing provision of high quality patient care is at the forefront of all we do. However, it is not possible for NHS England to make comment about individual GPs.”