A father has said a ‘hospital has blood on its hands’ after his son died after being sent home by doctors.
Austin O’Dowd died on June 2 after returning home when doctors told his parents his swollen eye was the result of an insect bite.
He had been battling mysterious symptoms for nearly a year and was in-and-out of A&E.
Austin’s father Vincent O’Dowd, 64, later confirmed he died from meningitis.
An investigation by police and health chiefs has been launched into the boy’s death and his family is demanding answers.
Mr O’Dowd, who is pursuing legal action, said: ‘I think the hospital has blood on its hands.
‘This is a teaching hospital this isn’t just a general hospital, I have no idea what they are telling doctors in there.
Mr O’Dowd added: ‘They haven’t even been in touch with me, I just need answers, I want to understand what has gone in there.
‘It seems to me like a complete death hospital, it doesn’t surprise me if you come out dead.
‘It has hit everyone hard in the family, and there were lots of people crying at his school and there was so many people at his funeral.
‘He was so well liked, it was like everyone he came into contact with he touched.
‘The ironic thing is he wanted to become a doctor.’
Mr O’Dowd first became concerned about Austin when he began experiencing intense stomach pains last October.
He spent four days in the hospital while doctors carried out tests but his family say they were given no answers as to what was wrong with him.
Things got worse in May 2019, when Austin’s stomach pains intensified and his eye began to swell.
Austin was rushed into Basildon Hospital, in Essex, on May 28 at 11pm but he was discharged with a course of antibiotics again at 5am.
He died four days later.
Mr O’Dowd said the family only found out the cause of Austin’s death last Wednesday.
His family say he had no long-term health conditions.
Mr O’Dowd added: ‘As a family, we are heartbroken at this sudden loss because we know Austin was truly one to watch.
‘The promise he had makes it difficult to take in as he showed so much excellence in everything he did.’
A Basildon Hospital spokesperson said: ‘A managed review, led by Thurrock Local Safeguarding Children Partnership is currently being undertaken.
‘As this is an ongoing investigation, we cannot comment further.
‘We offer our sincerest condolences to the family of Austin at this extremely difficult time”
Essex Police confirmed an investigation was ongoing after paramedics raised the alarm.
A crowdfunder has been set up to raise money for Austin’s funeral.