NHS Apologises After Boy Suffers Wrongful Amputation

An NHS trust in East Anglia has been forced to apologise for dreadful mistakes that were made in a misdiagnosis that resulted in an avoidable amputation from a three year-old boy.

Lou Harvey-Smith took son Reuben to Ipswich Hospital in July 2015 after his son had received burns, and, sadly, needlessly had his legs and seven fingers amputated.

Harvey-Smith had been readmitted to hospital with a fever, which time he was told he had tonsillitis, later been diagnosed with toxic shock syndrome at which time the amputations were undertaken.

Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust has admitted for liability for the mistake, and negotiations are now well underway regarding a suitable settlement.

Obviously there is no financial sum which can possibly compensate for this terrible error.

It was only when his mother called the burns unit at Chelsea and Westminster hospital for a second opinion that the malpractice was revealed.

Doctors at the Ipswich Hospital noticed at this stage that a life-threatening infection, which could be caused by bacteria entering a wound and releasing poisonous toxins into the blood of the child, was present.

But effective action at an earlier date could have prevented the amputations.

The mother of the boy, Lou Harvey-Smith, is campaigning for greater awareness of the condition that could have killed her son.

Ms Harvey-Smith’s solicitor, Tim Deeling, commented that “it is extremely concerning they were aware of the link between burns and toxic shock, yet didn’t consider this for Reuben’s case.”

The trust has already awarded an interim payment of £50,000 to the parents of Ruben, and an ultimate figure far in excess of this will ultimately be offered as compensation.

A spokesman noted that this process is ongoing.

“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. Further training has been provided to staff in recognising the warning signs of septic shock syndrome. The trust is committed to ensuring that Reuben is appropriately compensated so that he has the care, prostheses and equipment that he needs throughout his life.”


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