Doctors cop an earful over their care for Kaden

02:02, Jan 24 2013
Helen and Kaden Williams
BAD EAR: Helen Williams and son Kaden Williams, 5, of Stratford. Kaden has been fainting and vomiting after a severe ear infection.

A 5-year-old will miss out on his first day at school because of a serious ear infection which has already taken doctors eight months to diagnose.

Kaden Williams, 5, is due to start at Stratford Primary School next week, but has been fainting and vomiting and has had smelly green pus and blood leaking from his ear.

Kaden's mother, Helen Williams, said a doctor at Taranaki Base Hospital had yesterday told her Kaden's grommits needed to be removed, but their wait might last another eight weeks.

"I told them he was meant to be starting school next week but he couldn't because of how bad the smell is and the doctor told me to send him only on the days it didn't smell bad."

She said the kindergarten he had attended last year had complained about the smell of the discharge leaking from his ear, and she was not prepared to send him to school while he was sick.

Mrs Williams took Kaden to their usual general practitioner eight months ago, but he wrote it off as a normal ear infection and treated it with standard antibiotics.


When Kaden did not recover, Mrs Williams took him to another doctor who took swabs and discovered his ear was seriously infected.

"He said it was a nasty infection that not many antibiotics could fix."

When Kaden began fainting and vomiting, Mrs Williams started taking him to the emergency department at Taranaki Base Hospital.

Kaden was admitted for three days and given a course of intravenous antibiotics, but his condition did not improve.

She said after that they had visited the department eight times in the last two-and-a-half weeks and Kaden had stayed in hospital twice.

"I thought they might take it seriously if I kept going back, but nothing.

"I think we would have spent about 20 hours in ED."

After one visit Mrs Williams said she was told to take her son home and wait for a pediatrician to call her.

"I waited the whole day and they didn't call."

She said the emergency department had also had to consult with an ear, nose and throat specialist in Palmerston North by phone before they admitted him.

Another day she was told Kaden would need an MRI scan to investigate the fainting spells, and that it would happen the next day.

"But then the next day they said it wasn't going to be done until Wednesday. I would think if he's fainting it's urgent."

Mrs Williams said she had complained to the hospital about Kaden's treatment.

TDHB spokeswoman Sue Carrington confirmed the complaint was being investigated.

"This mother has brought her son's care to our attention yesterday afternoon through our customers service department and it is being acted on."

Taranaki Daily News