A U.K. woman died after contracting a rare flesh-eating infection earlier this year. A day before her death, she had injured her wrist during a botched sex game.
Details of Birmingham resident Katie Widdowson’s death were recently shared by her family at an inquest. The 24-year-old mother of one died on January 3 after contracting a deadly bacterial infection, which was misdiagnosed as a sprain at a local hospital. The grieving family alleged that if her condition was properly diagnosed, Widdowson may have survived. A coroner’s statement about the probable cause of infection, among all possibilities, reportedly points to an injury sustained while being restrained during sex, the Telegraph reports.
According to Widdowson’s mother, her daughter was restrained when she had sex with her partner Dean Smith on New Year’s Day after partying the night before.
“They’d got home around 6 a.m. and they’d had sex and she was tied up,” Widdowson’s mother Patricia said, according to The Sun. “They were a loving couple and it’s nobody’s else’s business what they did behind closed doors. Later that day Katie sent Dean a photo of her wrist saying it was hurting. The next night her arm looked horrific. Dean took a picture of it while the ambulance was on its way.”
During her first visit to the Good Hope Hospital in Sutton, Widdowson’s vitals were reportedly abnormal but she was sent home with pain medication and a diagnosis of a sprain. The family has alleged neglect on part of two doctors at the hospital who saw her during the visit.
“Her early warning score was six and should have resulted in regular and ongoing observations and further investigations,” Coroner Emma Brown told the inquest. “These were not carried out. If Katie had remained in hospital, it is clear that her death would have been avoidable. These mistakes amounted to a gross failure to provide basic medical attention. Katie’s death was due to Necrotising Fasciitis contributed to by neglect.”
With a sudden onset, Necrotising Fasciitis, also popularly known as flesh-eating disease, is a rare condition with high risk of mortality. It is more likely in immune-compromised individuals following a skin injury. The underlying bacterial infection results in death of soft tissue. With a 25 percent mortality risk at onset, Necrotising Fasciitis is fatal if left untreated. In most cases, the condition is treated with intensive antibiotic therapy and surgery, including amputation, to remove the dead tissue. Many symptoms of the disease are non-specific to it at onset.
In Widdowson’s case, the family alleged her condition continued to worsen a day after the first hospital visit. On January 2, she was rushed in an ambulance to another health facility but suffered a heart attack while on the way. Her family said her arm was dead and there was no blood running to it at that time. Though frantic resuscitation attempts revived her, she died the next day due to cardiac arrest. The family is now contemplating legal action against the hospital.
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