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Schoolgirl Meningitis Victim Wins Compensation Fight

A schoolgirl who was prescribed Calpol by a nurse when she was suffering from life-threatening meningococcal septicaemia is due very substantial damages after her late admission to hospital resulted in the onset of gangrene and the amputation of both her feet.

Chantelle Pringle was aged just two and had been suffering from a high fever and vomiting when her worried mother telephoned an out-of-hours medical service shortly after midnight on 17 November 2004. She spoke for 15 minutes to a triage nurse who told her that Chantelle probably had an upper respiratory tract infection and advised that she should be kept cool and given Calpol.

Her condition worsened over the next 11 hours and, when her mother noticed a rash on her body in the morning, an ambulance was called to the family's home and Chantelle was rushed to hospital. Only then was she treated with antibiotics and it was too late to prevent the double amputation.

Chantelle, now aged 11, was guaranteed full compensation for her injuries when the High Court ruled that the nurse had been negligent in failing to arrange her immediate admission to hospital and that the out-of-hours service he worked for was liable for his mistake. The Court found that, had Chantelle been appropriately treated those crucial hours earlier, her feet would probably have been saved.

Although the amount of compensation payable has not yet been assessed, the value of her claim is estimated to be £1 million.

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