Table 4

Evidence of possible misinterpretation of pain by carers and clinicians, spontaneously volunteered by interviewed carers

Site of painRadiological diagnosis and study ID numberPossible misjudgement
1AbdomenEmpyema (161)Carer assumed child had pulled a muscle doing fitness exercises in a sports class, so did not seek medical attention initially
2AbdomenPleural effusion (212)Carer thought this was due to ‘muscle strain from coughing’, so did not seek medical attention initially
3AbdomenEmpyema (174)Staff in paediatric assessment unit said pain was ‘probably due to coughing’. No chest x-ray was done
4Back and abdomenEmpyema (210)GP diagnosed a chest infection and prescribed antibiotics. Carer phoned GP 2 days later due to child's deteriorating condition but GP refused to see child due to unfinished course of antibiotics
5BackEmpyema (201)On two consecutive visits to a paediatric assessment unit, clinician said pain was because child had ‘torn a muscle’. No chest x-rays were done
6Chest and backEmpyema (159)A&E doctor could not find cause of pain and sent child home without antibiotics
7SidePneumonia (170)GP said pain was probably due to ‘muscle strain from coughing’ during phone consultation with mother
8SidePneumonia (271)GP diagnosed influenza and said pain was due to ‘coughing pulling on muscles’ and ‘hunger’
  • GP, general practitioner.