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Medical error figures 'may be too low'

Parents invest in aid to NHS

Obituary: Eric Boyland

'Radical' drug criticised as only a commercial device

Check on food ads for children

John Sutherland on sex addiction

MMR row resurfaces

Spray in trials to treat heroin addicts

Surgeons deny manslaughter

The voice doctor

This herbal remedy could save my father's life. Why won't someone give us some?

Persona non grata

Anger at blindness drug ruling

Call for urgent action to combat diabetes spread

Finding a treatment for ADD

Parents invest in aid to NHS

James Meikle, health correspondent
Tuesday June 18, 2002
The Guardian

When Jason and Charlotte Maude's three-year-old daughter Isabel nearly died after doctors failed to diagnose complications from chicken pox, they decided not to sue the NHS but to help ensure it made fewer such mistakes.

Isabel suffered multiple organ failure after first her GP and then a doctor in the accident and emergency department of a south London hospital did not identify the deadly symptoms of toxic shock syndrome and the flesh-eating bug, necrotising fasciitis.

Her life was in extreme danger and there was a high likelihood of brain damage, but Isabel, now six, has just one legacy from her terrible experience, a wound around her stomach and groin that will need plastic surgery when she is fully grown.

Instead of suing over the mistakes, Mr and Mrs Maude ploughed 35,000 of their own money, gained from the demutualisation of the RAC's motoring services, into working with doctors to develop an on-line diagnostic and reminder system, allowing less specialist doctors to identify a range of childhood diseases.

Donations from companies and individuals helped swell the funds for developing the system, named Isabel, and conduct small-scale trials. Yesterday the Department of Health announced it was to take the initiative further with more tests.

"It never felt right to sue", said Mr Maude, a former City stockbroker and equity researcher, who quit his job to care for Isabel, with the intensive care consultant whose team saved his daughter's life.

Putting doctors through years of legal action did not seem right either, when it was the system that was at fault.

The charity has raised 400,000, he said.

But another 400,000 was needed to complete the system, and design another one for doctors working with adult patients.

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