Twenty-three-year-old Katie Widdowson, a mother-of-one, was just having a bit of fun with her boyfriend when the pair decided to try something new in the bedroom. However, not long after she allowed her partner to “restrain” her during sex, the young mother contracted a rare, flesh-eating disease. Tragically, she was dead within a matter of hours.
A recent inquest into Katie’s cause of death has produced some disturbing findings. Apparently, the young, British mother would still be alive today if not for the glaring mistakes of her doctors.
Katie Widdowson, 23, went to hospital in agonising pain after she hurt her left wrist, while being tied-up in bed by her boyfriend Dean Smith.
Doctors initially dismissed her concerns, saying she had suffered a sprained wrist and sent her home with painkillers.
But the next day Katie was unable to move her arm which had turned black and blistered and she was rushed back to hospital.
Tragically, Katie suffered a heart attack in the ambulance and was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at hospital on January 2 this year. [Source: Daily Mail]
Katie had contracted necrotising fasciitis, a flesh-eating disease which can be caused by a small cut on the skin that quickly develops a deadly bacteria. An inquest into her death found the medical staff at Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, England, failed to correctly diagnose her.
As a result, Katie’s grieving family blames the hospital for her demise. The young mother was not seen by senior doctors, only a junior doctor from India, who had just come to Britain four months prior.
“[The doctors] flagrantly ignored the policy that was there for the very situation Katie found herself in,” said assistant coroner Emma Brown. “Her early warning score was six and should have resulted in regular and ongoing observations and further investigations. These were not carried out. If Katie had remained in [the] hospital, it is clear that her death would have been avoidable.”
The Sun provided a list of symptoms associated with necrotising fasciitis, which is triggered by several types of bacteria, including group A strep bacteria and E.coli, that can live in the gut, throat, or on a person’s skin:
- small but painful scratch on the skin
- intense pain that’s out of proportion with the size of the wound
- high temperature and other flu-like symptoms
- swelling and redness in the painful area
- diarrhea and vomiting
- dark blotches on the skin that turn to blisters
Katie’s devastated boyfriend Dean, 25, said it was the first time he had ever tried restraining her during sex. Dean, a chef, lived with Katie in Castle Vale, Birmingham, with their young son. The couple had been together for five-and-a-half years.
“[Katie and Dean] had been at a New Year’s Eve party until 5 am on New Year’s Day,” said Trish Widdowson, 54, Katie’s grieving mom. “They’d got home around 6 am and they’d had sex and she was tied up. They were a loving couple and it’s nobody’s else’s business what they did behind closed doors,” she continued.
“Later that day, Katie sent Dean a photo of her wrist saying it was hurting,” she added. “The next night, her arm looked horrific. Dean took a picture of it while the ambulance was on its way. There is a black mark on the base of her thumb and we think that is where the injury started. I don’t know what caused the injury, but it doesn’t matter because that was not what killed her.”
“When she went into Good Hope Hospital on the 1st she had a MEWS (Modified Early Warning Score) of six which is a red flag for sepsis but this was ignored,” continued Trish. “The junior doctor had only been in the country for four months. She had come over from India. If they had treated Katie properly she would still be alive.”
Another woman from the UK came down with a nearly fatal case of necrotising fasciitis just months ago, as well. Stacey Thomas, a 30-year-old business development manager, contracted the condition during a work-related trip to Germany and almost lost her leg because of it.
While necrotising fasciitis is not a medical condition many people are familiar with, the alarming frequency with which these stories are making the news is enough to make one think twice. If Katie and her doctors had known the true scope of her injury, she would likely still be alive today. Sharing this information could save another life down the line. Often, knowledge is the most powerful weapon we have to protect our own health.