Table 3

Evidence of possible misinterpretation of breathing symptoms by carers and clinicians, spontaneously reported by interviewed carers

Radiological diagnosis and study ID numberPossible misjudgement
1Pleural effusion (114)Carer thought child seemed ‘a bit out of breath’ but did not seek medical advice until child seemed very distressed the following day
2Empyema (145)Carer delayed seeking medical advice because they presumed breathing symptoms were due to asthma
3Empyema (161)
4Pneumonia (195)As above
5Pneumonia (234)As above
6Pneumonia (123)A&E doctor said child's chest was clear and attributed rapid breathing to high temperature
7Empyema (159)Staff in paediatric assessment unit attributed shortness of breath to asthma and sent child home with an inhaler
8Pneumonia (169)Carer was concerned that child had laboured breathing at night. One GP attributed this to a viral infection and advised carer to continue giving Calpol; another said child's chest was clear and sent them home
9Pleural effusion (239)GP attributed shortness of breath to hayfever
10Pneumonia (250)GP did not address carer's concern about child's panting and asked child ‘why he was doing that’
  • GP, general practitioner.