‘Flesh eating bug’ hospital claim

Posted: 18th November 2014

HospitalThe widower of a devoted grandmother, who was killed by the ‘flesh eating bug’ just three days after she slipped on snow in her driveway and cut her arm, is seeking substantial damages from the NHS, claiming that her life could have been saved.

Following her accident, the 60-year-old put the pain and chills she suffered down to a flare-up of arthritis or a cold. However, blisters on her arms and hands began to develop within two days and she went to her local hospital’s accident and emergency (A&E) department after the pain became too much to bear.

She was suffering from necrotising fasciitis and the lightning quick infection moved up her arms and into her chest, devouring her tissue. Surgeons tried to amputate both her arms but it was too late; the operation had to be aborted and she died that same afternoon.

Lawyers representing the woman’s husband of 40 years in his claim against the NHS trust which runs the hospital argued that, had she been treated as a priority when she arrived at the hospital and her condition swiftly diagnosed, she would have been operated on sooner and would probably have survived.

The trust, through its lawyers, apologised to the widower, accepting that there were 'failures and delays' in the A&E department that day. However, it denies liability for the woman’s death, insisting that she presented with only 'moderate' pain and so was given the correct priority status. The hearing continues.