The wife of a man who died after two doctors separately failed to diagnose the symptoms of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) has finally reached a settlement five years after his death.
The family of the deceased want to raise awareness of the warning signs of this potentially fatal condition after doctors at the Manor Hospital in Bedford failed to diagnose his condition and prematurely discharged him.
The deceased, a 56-year-old married man with two sons had suffered a shoulder injury whilst water skiing. He underwent a routine shoulder manipulation at The Manor Hospital.
After developing a temperature the deceased remained in hospital for an extra night but despite his worsening symptoms, he was discharged from hospital the following day. He remained ill all day and by the morning of the next day, had developed a rash over much of his body. His wife contacted the consultant who dismissed the rash as an allergic reaction to medication, despite the fact that her husband had not taken the prescribed pain killers for the previous 24 hours.
The next day the deceased’s condition was still deteriorating, his heart rate had rapidly increased and his eyes were bloodshot. The deceased’s wife called out a second doctor who also put the symptoms down to a reaction to medication, again failing to recognise the symptoms of TSS. By that evening the deceased had become so delirious his wife called an ambulance. By the time he was admitted to hospital he had extensive bruising on his body and his blood pressure was very low. He was admitted to Intensive Care and remained critical, dying just 15 hours later. His cause of death was Toxic Shock Syndrome due to a Staphylococcal Aureus infection. Despite the fact that TSS can be fatal it is unusual that it results in death as it can be treated effectively if the symptoms are recognised early.
Clinical negligence specialists from the family’s solicitors, Irwin Mitchell, confirmed that the deceased would have had a 100 per cent chance of survival if he had not been discharged from hospital when he was. They said that if he had been kept in hospital and blood tests carried out, as they should have been owing to the severity of the deceased’s symptoms, this would have identified that he was suffering from TSS.
Suzanne Munroe of Irwin Mitchell, who acted for the family said: “A catalogue of errors turned a routine operation into a family tragedy. The deceased patients’ symptoms should have been recognised and he should not have been discharged from the hospital.
“The family want to raise awareness about the symptoms associated with this potentially fatal condition. If her husband’s condition had been diagnosed correctly, he would have had a full chance of recovery. TSS is a killer if it is not caught quickly enough.
"We are deeply sorry for the family’s loss and hope that the Defendant in this case will be working with the hospital to ensure a wider appreciation of this condition to try and avoid a repetition of this tragedy”.
The matter has been resolved and the family has received a significant sum in compensation.
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