Failure to Diagnose Rare Disease Leads to Woman’s Death

Helen Edgar, 41, was diagnosed with a rare disease that doctors failed to catch soon enough before her unexpected death. Her family won a settlement of £415,000 in High Court.

The woman from the small town of Stowmarket, England, was experiencing shoulder pain so she went to West Suffolk Hospital in May 2013. Representatives for the family said that the doctors failed to diagnose her deadly condition, necrotising fasciitis. This rare disease is also known as “flesh eating disease” that results in the death of the body’s soft tissue. It spreads rapidly with symptoms of red or purple skin, severe pain, fever and vomiting. Helene experienced the worst of it before her untimely death. To learn more about this rare disease, click here.

Helen, mother of two, thought she had damaged her shoulder while reaching for a high cupboard. The doctors disregarded her sickness and sent her home with a sprain diagnosis and anti-inflammatory drugs. Her condition worsened, and she entered intensive care. Yet again, the doctors failed to recognize the parasite growing inside her.

Finally, the bacterial infection was discovered amid an exploratory surgery at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, but by then, it was too late. She died from multiple organ failures shortly after. Her husband, Ian, will always remember his loving wife as the “bedrock” of their family.

“Nothing can turn the clock back. I just hope that lessons have been learned so no other families have to endure the heartbreak we have had to go through following Helen’s death,” said Ian to BBC News.

An investigation into the wrongful death took place. This was when the West Suffolk Hospital NHS Trust came clean that there had been a delay in the diagnosis and they took full blame. They issued a public apology and ensured that they would do everything it could to avoid this happening in the future.

To read the full store at BBC News, click here.


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