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Meningitis: the making of a “scandal”

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: (Published 16 December 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:1538
  1. Trevor Jackson
  1. BMJ

    In retrospect, it is easy to see that the latest cluster of cases displayed the tell tale signs. Yes, there was rapid onset, yes, there was a certain feverishness, yes, this was one rash of newspaper stories that looked as though it was not going to go away. But anyone reading London's Evening Standard on Tuesday November 14 would have been hard pushed to diagnose just how serious this “meningitis scandal” was going to be.

    The paper gave up its front page to the story of 22 month old Jacob Fogg, who died of meningoccal septicaemia after being sent home from London's Whittington Hospital. According to the report, headlined “Hospital too busy to save dying boy,” doctors had said he had had only flu.

    Readers were referred to a double page spread inside the paper where the boy's parents gave a minute by minute account of their terrifying wait for treatment. They described “a vision …

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