Isabel is not an acronym but the name of the little girl whose illness inspired a medical tool designed to help prevent misdiagnosis.
In 1999, then 3 year old Isabel Maude was nearly fatally misdiagnosed by her family doctor and hospital when her Chicken Pox developed, undetected, into Necrotising Fasciitis and Toxic Shock Syndrome. The result of this error was two months in hospital including a month in PICU struggling to survive from multiple organ failure and cardiac arrest. Against all odds, she survived her ordeal and, despite still undergoing reconstructive surgery nearly two decades later, she is now thriving at a British university. Surviving this life-threatening illness has given her a determination to live life to the full - conquering Mount Kilimanjaro is just the beginning!
Her suffering could have been avoided had just one of the many doctors asked “What else could this be?”. Her Chicken Pox led her doctors to miss the clear signs of a secondary infection and reach premature closure on her diagnosis.
The idea for a diagnostic tool came to Isabel’s parents, Jason and Charlotte Maude when, weeks after Isabel’s discharge, they visited the hospital responsible for her misdiagnosis. They were told ‘clinical ignorance’ was to blame and the junior doctors who saw Isabel simply lacked the experience and knowledge needed. If the junior doctors who saw Isabel were lacking the knowledge that Necrotising Fasciitis was a well documented complication of Chicken Pox, then perhaps technology could give them a helping hand?
Rather than take legal action, Jason Maude then devoted his career to establishing an organisation and team to design and build a practical, easy-to-use diagnostic tool for clinicians.
Initially designed for childhood illnesses, the DDx generator was expanded in 2006 to handle both adult and pediatric conditions and then, in 2012, a modified version was released as a free to use Symptom Checker for patients.
Originating from a near tragedy, Isabel Healthcare started life in 1999 as the Isabel Medical Charity and the charity remains one of the company’s largest shareholders. True to our roots and original goals, we constantly strive to make Isabel as widely available as possible. Isabel is an outstandingly efficient tool for disseminating medical knowledge to countries and regions where medical resources are limited. As part of our core mission:
Substantial discounts are always available to clinicians and hospitals in developing countries
Students and medical schools are offered heavily discounted rates
Since 2012 the Symptom Checker has been available free of charge to patients around the world.
In the words of the recent landmark report by the US National Academy of Medicine “Improving the diagnostic process is not only possible, but it also represents a moral, professional and public health imperative”. We want to play our part in this important journey.