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Hospital Diagnosis Leads to Tragic Death of Young Transplant Patient

An 18-year-old transplant patient died after hospital misdiagnosed a rejection of donor heart.

The Daily Mail Online has reported another tragic story of a hospital misdiagnosis.

Jessica Brooks was 15-years-old when she was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition where the heart becomes enlarged, affecting its ability to pump blood effectively.

In February 2016, Miss Brooks went through a surgery and received a donor heart.

In January 2017, she began vomiting and after consecutive three days, was rushed to the Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham, Kent.

The staff at the hospital informed the family that the patient is suffering gastroenteritis, food poisoning, and later sepsis.

Miss Brooks died later the same day.

Her post mortem examination revealed she was not in fact experiencing food poisoning or any other conditions the hospital staff misdiagnosed, but rather her body was rejecting the donor heart. It also found no evidence of sepsis.

An internal hospital report looking into the young woman’s death disclosed that nurses requested multiple times for the medics to examine her, but the doctor did not attend the unit for several hours.

A legal battle has been launched by Emily Brooks, the mother of Jessica, against Medway NHS Trust. The specialist clinical negligence solicitor, Agata Usewicz, who is representing the family has stated that Miss Brooks was at no point assessed for organ rejection, which cost her her life.

Ms Brooks claims she repeatedly informed the hospital staff that her daughter was not keeping down her anti-rejection medication and responding to drugs.

She believes that if her daughter was not misdiagnosed, she could still be alive.

Medway NHS Trust has issued an apology to Jessica’s family. They also admitted liability in this civil claim.

Whilst we can appreciate the Medway NHS Trust understanding their error in this case, it is hard to feel remotely satisfied with the outcome.

One of the doctors at the Medway Maritime Hospital has admitted that they are used to dealing with kidney transplants, but not heart transplants. We find this to be a poor excuse for the delayed assessment of the patient’s health and the eventual misdiagnosis. The doctors did not take into consideration Miss Brooks’ status as an organ transplant recipient seriously enough, which resulted in her unnecessary death.

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