Multiple missed diagnoses by doctors have crippled a five-year–old boy who endured a prolonged period of severe symptoms of arthritis, and eventually succumbed to it. The young boy, Kaden Hadfield, was described as a loving, kind and caring, had gone to more than 20 hospital visits, and each time, he was sent home with Calpol and Ibuprofen.

“It took two years to get Kaden an appointment at Alder Hey; they diagnosed him straight away but it was too late,” said his mum, Caitlin Tattersall.

He couldn’t even scratch his nose

Kaden was initially diagnosed with an ankle sprain by a GP. However, the pain did not get better and 18 months later, his other ankle was affected too.

He was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s A&E where blood tests showed a vitamin D deficiency and anaemia. Kaden was hospitalised for a week, after which he was sent home with Calpol and Ibuprofen, plus some vitamin D and iron tablets.

The pain spread to Kaden’s knees and then to all his joints. When he was referred to Rheumatology at Blackpool, the doctor prescribed him with more Calpol despite an ultrasound showing tissue damage, according to Caitlin.

Caitlin said, “He couldn’t walk, he couldn’t even scratch his own nose his hands were so swollen and stiff.”

Subsequent blood tests at Blackpool Hospital again showed he was anaemic, despite taking iron tablets. Finally, Caitlin made an appointment at Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool, where doctors diagnosed Kaden with systemic onset juvenile arthritis, after initially suspecting leukaemia.

He was given a course of steroids to ease the pain. However at that point, the disease started to attack his organs, and he was put in a high dependency ward.

Two years too late

After six weeks in hospital, Kaden was able to take his first steps. Unfortunately, things took a drastic turn the next day when Kaden felt a “stabbing pain” in his stomach and was rushed to intensive care where his heart stopped. Kaden passed on the following day from sepsis which was a result of his arthritis.

Caitlin, who is training to be a social worker, wanted to know exactly what happened and why it took so long to get a diagnosis.

“They tried to save him for 13 hours. But I don’t understand. I feel like if Kaden had just had the medication he needed earlier he would be here today.”

Heartbroken over the untimely death of her son, she recalled, “He was in agony every day and he never moaned. Everyone who ever met him loved him.”

A spokesman for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said, “Upon hearing of his death the trust initiated a case review which is ongoing and is standard procedure in all children’s deaths.”

Caitlin and Kaden’s father, Lee Hadfield, are now awaiting an inquest, with hopes of finding out the truth regarding Kaden’s death. MIMS

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