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Warning for parents as boy’s leg is amputated after misdiagnosis

Warning for parents as young boy has legs amputated after doctor’s misdiagnosed toxic shock syndrome


At just three years old, Reuben Harvey-Smith has already fallen victim to a huge hospital mistake, when doctors mistook a life-threatening case of toxic shock syndrome for tonsillitis which led to him having both legs amputated. After suffering from an accidental burn, his mother Louise took him to Ipswich Hospital to have it treated. She returned with Reuben two days later because he was suffering from a fever and sore throat. He was given antibiotics and sent home. The next day he was fighting for his life. It was later revealed that he was suffering from toxic shock syndrome after his burn had become infected. The hospital have now admitted that if Reuben had been given the correct diagnosis and a night of treatment then the amputation of his legs could have been avoided.

Now Louise wants to make sure that this doesn’t happen to anyone else’s child. She is speaking out about what happened to Reuben in order to raise awareness for toxic shock syndrome and sepsis. She believes that if more people are aware of the link between burns and toxic shock that situations like Reuben’s could be avoided. 

Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust have accepted full responsibility for the mistake and have offered an unreserved apology. The family are now fundraising for Reuben in order to pay for new, better prosthetic legs for him, with each pair costing around £6,000. Ms Harvey-Smith’s lawyer has said that the trust have told him that they are “committed to ensuring that Reuben is appropriately compensated so that he has the care, prostheses and equipment that he needs throughout his life”. They have made an interim payment of £50,000 whilst the legal proceedings still continue over a final settlement. 

Louise says that she doesn’t have time to be angry and that Reuben is very brave, having just accepted what happened to him and got on with things.  

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