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Wrong diagnosis led doctors to amputate toddlers leg

"A toddler had to have both his legs and seven of his fingers amputated after doctors failed to spot the warning signs of toxic shock syndrome".

You can almost imagine the scene and feel the fear and worry that Reuben Harvey Smith's mother went through last summer when Rueben accidentally burnt himself at home.

After rushing him to hospital and having his injuries treated you would believe that the trauma was over and that once home Reuben could rest and the family could put the whole event behind them.

Sadly for Reuben and his family this was just the beginning of the nightmare.

Two days after the initial accident, Lou, Ruebens' mother, took him back to hospital with a fever and a sore throat. Doctors advised that it was simply tonsillitis and discharged Reuben. 

However, within the next 24 hours, Rueben was back in casualty fighting for his life.

Reuben was diagnosed with toxic shock syndrome and later needed an amputation to his legs and fingers.

Toxic shock syndrome is a rare but life-threatening bacterial infection that occurs when bacteria infects the wound and poisonous toxins are pumped around the body. 

"It is very serious indeed because you are effectively racing against these toxins and it's a race against time", said paediatrician Dr Nelly Ninis "It's absolutely vital that sepsis, or toxic shock syndrome, is correctly diagnosed, and quickly". 

Luckily Rueben survived and he is now getting used to using hew new prosthetic legs.

Rueben's monther is campaigning to highlight the dangers of toxic shock syndrome. She is raising awareness so that the medical profession considers and recognises the link between burns and the syndrome so that others do not have to go through the same as her son.

Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust has admitted full liability and is now working to ensure that Rueben receives all the care and equipment he needs.

If you or a family member believe that you have sustained injury due to delays, misdiagnosis or poor medical treatment and you would like no obligation advice – please contact us on 01302 320621 or email


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