While undergoing treatment for a large bowel abscess, Kelly developed necrotising fasciitis. This could have been avoided, had her GP provided a better standard of care.
When Kelly suddenly experienced a change in bowel habits, her stomach also became bloated and painful and she had a fetid taste in her mouth. Six months later there was also blood in her stools.
Initially Kelly had thought that her symptoms could be attributed to wind. But by the time blood appeared in her faeces she knew there must be something wrong. She attended her GP and underwent a blood test and digital rectal examination. Kelly was told that mild abnormalities had appeared in her blood test results, but overall there was nothing that required treatment.
However, Kelly’s symptoms continued to deteriorate. She sought help from the same doctor on a further two occasions, during which more blood tests were taken. But still no action was taken.
Kelly eventually reached crisis point. She was in agonising pain and could not touch her stomach. The pain was so severe one weekend that she was forced to visit the out-of-hours doctor. He said he could feel a lump in her stomach and advised Kelly to return to her GP surgery on Monday.
Thankfully Kelly secured an appointment with a different GP who instantly recognised the serious nature of her symptoms. She told Kelly to go straight to hospital where a huge bowel abscess was diagnosed.
The abscess was drained but, after two days, the skin around the drainage site became red and hot to touch. Medical staff were quick to realise the problem and diagnosed necrotising fasciitis, an aggressive infection that had arisen between the layer of skin on Kelly’s stomach and the layer of fat beneath it. She was rushed into theatre that night.
An extensive area of tissue was surgically removed from Kelly’s stomach and bowel. She only just survived the operation and spent two days in a coma, after which she remained in hospital for a further five weeks. She was discharged with a colostomy bag in situ because a large area of her bowel had been excised. Unfortunately this cannot be reversed.
Kelly finds the appearance of both wound and colostomy acutely embarrassing, and it hinders her ability to live a normal life as she is constantly concerned about them leaking. As a result, Kelly rarely goes far from her house. She has also had to give up work.
Kelly has incurred devastating physical, emotional and financial injuries, all of which could have been avoided had the GP diagnosed her bowel abscess in the early stages. Had a prompt diagnosis been made, the abscess could have been treated conservatively and she would not have gone on to develop necrotising fasciitis.
We helped Kelly pursue a claim against her GP. She was awarded over £85,000 in compensation.
(Details which might identify our client have been changed.)