A four-year-old boy who had been stung by a scorpion died after ER medics treated him for pneumonia instead of lethal venom, a hospital inquiry has revealed.
Victim Miguel Grijota da Silva had been sleeping at his home in Birigui, Brazil, when he woke up on 31st December with neck pain and redness all over his body.
He began vomiting and his hands and feet were swollen – all classic scorpion sting symptoms.
His anxious family took him to the local emergency department, where nursing staff immediately raised the possibility of a scorpion sting to doctors, Miguel’s grandmother Silvana Aparecida Pomaro dos Santos told local media.
But instead, the medics gave Miguel a COVID-19 test, a blood test, and an X-ray, as well as giving him medication to stop the vomiting and the pain.
Following the tests, the doctor tending to Miguel bizarrely misdiagnosed him with pneumonia.
Grandmother Silvana said: “I said it could be anything but pneumonia. The boy had no trace of it.
“He was worsening and they applied for him to be admitted to Santa Casa de Birigui, but the hospital said they couldn’t receive him.
“Then they applied for Aracatuba, but they also said there was no vacancy.”
Despite this, Miguel was later admitted to Santa Casa de Aracatuba.
As soon as he arrived at the hospital, a doctor recognised that he had been stung by a scorpion.
Silvana revealed: “We checked in, and the ambulance doctor said it was straight to the ICU.
“When we got there, my grandson couldn’t take it anymore. He had eight cardiac arrests.
“He was alive for 12 hours with poison in his body. Do you think that a child, following the correct procedure, would die?”
The first hospital later issued a statement saying medics involved in Miguel’s treatment had been suspended.
It said: “[A]n investigation has been initiated to verify the events that occurred and…the medical professionals involved have been removed from their activities until the investigation is concluded”.
Grieving grandfather Manoel dos Santos said: “The person in charge called us, chatted to us, and said that he was not going to bring our grandson back but that he was going to remove the professional involved.
“I replied that they were essentially confirming that there was medical malpractice. He was speechless.”
Manoel added: “The pain has become more intense because of all this.”