Reuben Harvey-Smith, age 3, went to the hospital with a fever and sore throat. He ended up needing both of his legs and seven fingers amputated.
Doctors misdiagnosed his toxic shock syndrome, and thought he had tonsillitis, which they treated with antibiotics.
It turned out that the boy had gotten a burn a few weeks ago, and developed toxic shock, which is common amongst burn victims.
Reuben had recently had a burn, but the medical personnel at the hospital failed to consider toxic shock syndrome as a possible cause of his infection.
By the time the cause was identified, the infection had progressed to the point where the amputations were required to save the boy’s life.
The hospital, having accepted financial liability for the misdiagnosis, is working with Reuben’s family on a financial settlement.
Reuben is bravely taking it all in stride.
According to his mother, Lou, “He came round from the operation, and the first thing he did was ask for ‘mummy cuddles’ and his dinner … He just accepts it and gets on with things. He never gets frustrated.”
Lou is also making the best of it, sharing Reuben’s story and trying to educate the public about toxic shock syndrome in children, so that others might avoid the same fate.
“I try not to waste energy getting angry because at the end of the day I’ve still got my son,” she explains, “but what I have got to do now is make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”
The website ToxicShock.com has some tips for recognizing symptoms of burn-related toxic shock in children, which include:
- Low blood pressure
In addition, the site notes that a blood pressure test is key in diagnosing the syndrome, and should always be requested when a child has some of all of the symptoms.
Usually toxic shock is known for developing in women who have left tampons in for a prolonged period of time, but according to the website, burn victims get it as well.
The boy’s small burn turned into a serious infection.
Now, the mom has taken to Facebook to warn other parents.