Basingstoke doctor mistakenly told mother that young baby could have fluid on the brain

Victoria Scott and Luke Bale with their baby son Dexter Bale

Victoria Scott and Luke Bale with their baby son Dexter Bale Buy this photo

First published in News by , Senior Reporter

NEW parents were left terrified after being told their six-week-old son could need an emergency CAT scan to check for fluid on his brain – only to discover just hours later that the doctor had made a mistake.

When Victoria Scott took her son Dexter Bale for a check-up at Gillies Health Centre on Friday, June 27, she was expecting to simply have him weighed and measured.

But the 28-year-old said she was left distraught when she was told her son’s head was too large and required a CAT scan to check for fluid on the brain.

The English teacher was told that Dexter’s head had grown at a worrying rate – from 36cm to 41cm.

The distress for the first-time mum was compounded when she was quizzed by the doctor about whether her family had a history of large heads – something she wasn’t able to answer.

She said: “It was very difficult on that day – words like ‘CAT scan’ and ‘fluid on the brain’ are very frightening.”

She immediately called her fiancé, Luke Bale, and gave him the news, but when they spoke to the doctor again, around three hours later, they were told there was no need for a scan and that Dexter’s head size was within the normal range.

Luke, 28, who works in sales, said: “I was really angry that we had been given a scare for no reason, I don’t understand how you can just throw out a diagnosis like that.”

After Luke made a complaint the couple, of Quilter Road, Brighton Hill, were invited into the surgery in Sullivan Road that evening with Dexter.

They saw a more senior doctor, who reassured them that their son did not need a CAT scan.

Victoria said: “It is a big relief that everything looks okay but it was a horrible thing to have to go through, especially when you’re first-time parents.”

Practice manager Desmond McCarthy told The Gazette that the doctor could have been “overly cautious” in his first assessment.

He said: “Obviously hearing the words CAT scan can be very frightening and it is understandable that the parents were worried.

“The doctor did say that a CAT scan could be needed but went away and checked.

“He later contacted the parents to say it was not necessary.”

He added: “We (as doctors) have to try and express ourselves better.”

Comments (10)

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2:28pm Fri 15 Aug 14

Bungecat69 says...

Having read this utter drivel I have cancelled my Gazette subscription. I can't believe you've given news space to these attention seeking idiots. Yet another Doctor bashing post; they're damned if they do, damned if they don't. Disgraceful. You should be ashamed of yourselves Gazette.
Having read this utter drivel I have cancelled my Gazette subscription. I can't believe you've given news space to these attention seeking idiots. Yet another Doctor bashing post; they're damned if they do, damned if they don't. Disgraceful. You should be ashamed of yourselves Gazette. Bungecat69
  • Score: 65

3:32pm Fri 15 Aug 14

jonone says...

I'd rather a GP was over cautious. These two ought to think twice before silly scaremongering themselves.
I'd rather a GP was over cautious. These two ought to think twice before silly scaremongering themselves. jonone
  • Score: 51

7:01pm Fri 15 Aug 14

Honeybee123 says...

What a completely ridiculous article and shame on you Basingstoke Gazette for giving these two people attention. Would you not rather a doctor was a little over cautious? Yes he may have been wrong in this case but literally there was no harm done, the baby is fine and nobody was hurt. The GP was being cautious and this article is pathetic.
What a completely ridiculous article and shame on you Basingstoke Gazette for giving these two people attention. Would you not rather a doctor was a little over cautious? Yes he may have been wrong in this case but literally there was no harm done, the baby is fine and nobody was hurt. The GP was being cautious and this article is pathetic. Honeybee123
  • Score: 45

7:18pm Fri 15 Aug 14

Marina Morris says...

Agree with the previous posters, what is the point of this article? They should be extremely grateful that the doctor was concerned and even more so that they have a healthy child. What are these parents hoping to achieve by filing rubbish like this with the local press?
Agree with the previous posters, what is the point of this article? They should be extremely grateful that the doctor was concerned and even more so that they have a healthy child. What are these parents hoping to achieve by filing rubbish like this with the local press? Marina Morris
  • Score: 38

12:57am Sun 17 Aug 14

The BestTrip2011 says...

Awful piece of journalism. This us a 'nothing' story not worthy of publication.
Awful piece of journalism. This us a 'nothing' story not worthy of publication. The BestTrip2011
  • Score: 19

6:54am Sun 17 Aug 14

Ladybird24 says...

I also believe the Gazette has gone over the top with this one and the parents are no better alowing it to happen.
As a parent I can understand the worry over this case, I once had an over cautious situation years ago with one of my children. I, however was grateful that the doctor checked things out and that all was ok.
In this case the doctor is in a no win situation, had he ignored his feelings and overlooked this, and there had been a problem, he would have been in serious trouble!!
I think the parents should be thanking him rather than letting this go to the press.
I also believe the Gazette has gone over the top with this one and the parents are no better alowing it to happen. As a parent I can understand the worry over this case, I once had an over cautious situation years ago with one of my children. I, however was grateful that the doctor checked things out and that all was ok. In this case the doctor is in a no win situation, had he ignored his feelings and overlooked this, and there had been a problem, he would have been in serious trouble!! I think the parents should be thanking him rather than letting this go to the press. Ladybird24
  • Score: 23

5:24pm Sun 17 Aug 14

jonone says...

Ladybird24 wrote:
I also believe the Gazette has gone over the top with this one and the parents are no better alowing it to happen.
As a parent I can understand the worry over this case, I once had an over cautious situation years ago with one of my children. I, however was grateful that the doctor checked things out and that all was ok.
In this case the doctor is in a no win situation, had he ignored his feelings and overlooked this, and there had been a problem, he would have been in serious trouble!!
I think the parents should be thanking him rather than letting this go to the press.
Well said.

We have sadly created a society of selfish people where any form of upset requires compensation or attention of some sort. I think this pair are more interested in getting into the paper than any welfare of their child.
[quote][p][bold]Ladybird24[/bold] wrote: I also believe the Gazette has gone over the top with this one and the parents are no better alowing it to happen. As a parent I can understand the worry over this case, I once had an over cautious situation years ago with one of my children. I, however was grateful that the doctor checked things out and that all was ok. In this case the doctor is in a no win situation, had he ignored his feelings and overlooked this, and there had been a problem, he would have been in serious trouble!! I think the parents should be thanking him rather than letting this go to the press.[/p][/quote]Well said. We have sadly created a society of selfish people where any form of upset requires compensation or attention of some sort. I think this pair are more interested in getting into the paper than any welfare of their child. jonone
  • Score: 19

8:19am Mon 18 Aug 14

Goodbye says...

This is also very poor reporting.

Para one 'could need a CAT scan'
Para three ' required a CAT scan'

And they why write about the mothers distress being compounded when the doctor asked the most natural question about their family history.

This is a non story, extremely badly written and a poor attempt to sensationalise a non event.
This is also very poor reporting. Para one 'could need a CAT scan' Para three ' required a CAT scan' And they why write about the mothers distress being compounded when the doctor asked the most natural question about their family history. This is a non story, extremely badly written and a poor attempt to sensationalise a non event. Goodbye
  • Score: 5

11:23am Mon 18 Aug 14

JJ38JJ says...

"The distress for the first-time mum was compounded when she was quizzed by the doctor about whether her family had a history of large heads – something she wasn’t able to answer."
Well looking at the picture it doesn't look like there is a history of large heads on the paternal side.
To be fair to the Gazette, perhaps the couple used to live in Overton.
"The distress for the first-time mum was compounded when she was quizzed by the doctor about whether her family had a history of large heads – something she wasn’t able to answer." Well looking at the picture it doesn't look like there is a history of large heads on the paternal side. To be fair to the Gazette, perhaps the couple used to live in Overton. JJ38JJ
  • Score: 4

11:56am Mon 18 Aug 14

THX 1138 says...

Although I don't think this should have gone to the local press, I do think the couple were entitled to complain. The key part of this article is the final sentence - some doctors don't have great communication skills. It is often not so much what is said but the way it is said that can be the problem.
Although I don't think this should have gone to the local press, I do think the couple were entitled to complain. The key part of this article is the final sentence - some doctors don't have great communication skills. It is often not so much what is said but the way it is said that can be the problem. THX 1138
  • Score: -18

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