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NHS Trust apologises after misdiagnosis leads to amputations.

An NHS trust has unreservedly apologised after a misdiagnosis led to a three-year-old boy having his legs and seven fingers amputated.

Ms Lou Harvey-Smith took her son Reuben to Ipswich Hospital in July 2015 after he burned himself. Two days later she took him again, with a fever, and was told he had tonsillitis.

After he was treated at the hospital for the accidental burn, Reuben developed a fever and sore throat.

Ms Harvey-Smith took him back and was given antibiotics for tonsillitis. Next day the child was critically ill.

His mother sought a second opinion and called the burns unit at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

Doctors suspected toxic shock, a life-threatening infection which would have been caused by bacteria entering the wound and releasing poisonous toxins into Reuben's blood.

The boy was rushed back to Ipswich Hospital then transferred to St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London, where staff carried out the amputations.

Ms Harvey-Smith, 41, from Chelmondiston, near Ipswich took legal action against Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust, which admitted toxic shock was a "significant possibility" based on the child's symptoms at the time, and amputation could have been avoided with earlier diagnosis and treatment.

Ms Harvey-Smith's solicitor, Tim Deeling, said: "It is extremely concerning they were aware of the link between burns and toxic shock, yet didn't consider this for Reuben's case.

A spokesman for the Trust, which has made a £50,000 interim payment, said: "In an ongoing legal case the trust has admitted full liability for shortcomings in the A&E care provided to Reuben in July 2015 and have offered an unreserved apology."

He added that the trust was "committed to ensuring that Reuben is appropriately compensated so that he has the care, prostheses and equipment that he needs throughout his life" and said that further training had been provided to staff in recognising the warning signs of septic shock syndrome.

 

 

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