Grieving parents have blasted doctors for a ‘catalogue of errors’ after their son died of a flesh-eating virus – just days after he was diagnosed with tonsillitis during a GP phone consultation.
Luke Abrahams, 20, felt ill last month and complained of a raging throat before having a phone call with his GP who prescribed antibiotics.
Days later the railway engineer and amateur footballer began to feel worse with pain in his legs, so his parents took him to the hospital.
Luke was sent home but his condition got worse until he begged his parents to call 999 – saying he ‘couldn’t take the pain’ any longer – but an ambulance was refused.
He was rushed into surgery at Northampton General Hospital on January 23 but died on the operating table, where he told his father: ‘Dad, I’ll be okay, you take care of Jake and mum.’
A post mortem examination revealed he had been suffering from Lemierre Syndrome – a form of bacterial infection – and necrotising fasciitis, a flesh-eating disease.
Grieving parents have blasted doctors for a ‘catalogue of errors’ after their son died of a flesh-eating virus – days after it was dismissed as tonsillitis. Pictured: Luke with his mother Julie Needham
A post mortem examination revealed he had been suffering from Lemierre Syndrome – a form of bacterial infection – and necrotising fasciitis – a flesh-eating disease. Pictured: Luke with his father Richard Abrahams
Luke was considered super healthy and was an amateur footballer as well as a railway engineer
His heartbroken parents Richard Abrahams, 60, and Julie Needham, 49, have since blasted doctors, accusing them of a ‘catalogue of errors’.
The couple, from Northampton, are now considering suing the NHS, claiming medics missed a string of opportunities to potentially save their son.
Mr Abrahams, a manager at Currys, said: ‘No one has taken any responsibility over his death.
‘When he first went to the doctors and then started complaining about a pain in his leg, he should have been given more tests.
‘What is the point of over the phone consultations with the doctor?
‘Doctors need to see you in person to give a correct diagnosis and that is why he was misdiagnosed.
‘In the end he was an emergency case, but they did not see that as they thought he just had tonsillitis and sciatica.’
The father added: ‘I can’t say whether he would definitely be here now, but they cut corners and misdiagnosed him.
Luke’s heartbroken parents have blasted doctors, accusing them of a ‘catalogue of errors’. Pictured: Luke with his parents and his 16-year-old brother Jake (right)
He died on the operating table on January 23, where he told his father: ‘Dad, I’ll be okay, you take care of Jake and mum’
Luke was an older sibling to his sixteen-year-old brother Jake (left)
‘Whichever way you look at it, none of the healthcare providers did their job properly. We’re just left with ‘what ifs’.’
Luke was initially diagnosed with tonsillitis after calling his GP at Penvale Medical Centre, East Hunsbury, Northampton, on January 15.
Two days later he still felt unwell so phoned his GP, but was unable to get through and when no one called him back he dialled 111.
The operator advised the 20-year-old to go to A&E where he was told he would be put on an intravenous drip.
However, his family said this never happened and Luke left the hospital without receiving treatment.
The next day, Luke woke up with a pain in his leg which lasted throughout the night.
The family called 111, and a doctor conducted a Zoom call consultation where he diagnosed Luke with sciatica and prescribed him naproxen – a strong painkiller.
A day later Luke’s leg pain had become worse and spread to his left buttock, leaving him unable to get out of bed.
The 20-year-old was initially diagnosed with tonsillitis after calling his GP at Penvale Medical Centre, East Hunsbury, Northampton, on January 15
Luke’s parents are considering suing the NHS – claiming medics missed a string of opportunities to potentially save their son
Mr Abrahams said: ‘It’s a catalogue of errors. No one’s going to bring him back but I want these people punished’
His mother rang 999 and insisted Luke’s condition was critical, begging for them to send an ambulance which was refused.
Despite calling Penvale Medical Centre to organise transport to take him to A&E, no one called her back.
Ms Needham said: ‘I was feeling hopeless as I couldn’t get my son out of bed to take him to A&E and just needed help.
‘No one was offering the support and Luke was in a critical condition.’
An ambulance eventually arrived at the family’s home but paramedics said his high heart rate and temperature was down to him fighting an infection.
Two days later on January 22 Luke told his mother ‘I can’t take the pain anymore’ and the family called 111 again who sent an ambulance.
Ms Needham added: ‘They took him into hospital for further checks and that was it, we got a call at 1am from Luke saying ”can you come down, they want to see you,” and that’s when we were told he has a 50/50 chance of survival.
‘The doctors said he’s really poorly, he’s got this bacterial eating infection and it’s a life-threatening situation.
‘We were shocked but thought to ourselves, ‘they can save him’, we put our trust in them.
‘They said this is a life-threating operation and we might have to amputate his leg. They amputated his leg but said he was too far gone.
‘I think Luke knew he was going to die after what he said on the operating table.
‘He said, ”Dad, I’ll be okay, you take care of Jake and mum”.
‘That’s when I felt he knew he was going to die. Luke was trying to protect us because that’s Luke.
‘We watched 20 people working on him in theatre and he didn’t pull through.’
The couple, who also have a younger son Jake, 16, have launched a legal bid to discover why so many mistakes were made.
The father added: ‘Me and Julie were meant to be getting married this year and Luke was going to be the best man and it’s just so heart breaking that he won’t be there to do that.
‘We are not going to stop fighting this case and want answers. I don’t want the condolences, I want answers.
‘It’s a catalogue of errors. No one’s going to bring him back but I want these people punished.
‘I’m not taking any of that, ‘we’ll learn from our mistakes’, there’s too much of that going on, someone should have taken him in for a proper test.
‘I hope they feel guilty about all this. We’re grieving parents. I don’t want to see any more grieving parents.’
A spokesperson for Integrated Care Northamptonshire said: ‘On behalf of the NHS in Northamptonshire, we wish to express our sincere condolences to the family and our thoughts are with them at this very difficult time.
‘All providers are reviewing the care and treatment provided in this case and until such time as their reviews are completed, it would not be appropriate to comment further.’