A SCHOOLBOY who died from meningitis just four days after doctors discharged him from hospital has been named.

Austin O'Dowd, nine, was rushed to Basildon Hospital on May 28 with an agonising stomach ache and a swollen eye.

His father, Vince O'Dowd, 64, claims doctors sent him home with antibiotics and eye drops six hours after his arrival.

A postmortem revealed his death on June 2 was caused by meningitis.

Mr O'Dowd is calling for answers about his son's tragic death while a major investigation has begun at the hospital.

Mr O'Dowd said: "He was such a healthy, happy boy. We just couldn't believe it. I don't understand why they couldn't see he had meningitis.

"It's one of the biggest killers of children. I feel disgusted that this happened."

Following Austin's tragic death the family have set up a JustGiving to help raise £5,000 towards his funeral.

The family wrote: "When Austin passed away on Sunday June 2 it was a huge shock to the family.

"He was always bursting with energy, always wearing a big grin on his face and out of nowhere he was taken from us.

"If you ever had the pleasure of meeting Austin you would know that he was truly one in a billion.'

Mr O'Dowd first became concerned about Austin when he began experiencing intense stomach pains in October 2018.

Austin spent four days in hospital while doctors carried out tests but his family say they were given no answers as to what was wrong with him.

It is not clear if this was linked to his death, as symptoms of meningitis are normally very sudden and do not appear months before.

Mr O'Dowd said: "They couldn't find what was wrong with him and they discharged him after four days.

"It was like they were asking me to diagnose his medical problems.'

Thing got worse in May 2019 when Austin's stomach pains intensified.

Mr O'Dowd said: "It was like he was being punched in the stomach. He was doubled over in pain."

Austin's eye began to swell until it was visibly swollen shut. According to Meningitis Now, swelling of the eye is not a common symptom of meningitis.

Austin was rushed to hospital at 11pm on May 28 and discharged with a course of antibiotics at 5am, his father said.

Mr O'Dowd said the family were left in the dark about how and why their son had died until two days ago when the coroner confirmed to them that Austin died of meningitis.

A spokesperson for Basildon Hospital 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."

The family's fundraising page has so far raised more than £3,900.

To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/austin-odowd.