Devastating effects of incorrect advice
Jillian, a mother of two from Merseyside, has a history of Psoriasis, a skin condition that causes red, flaky, crusty patches of skin covered with silvery scales. Psoriasis affects around 2% of people in the UK and is a long lasting condition.
In September 2015, Jillian attended a check-up appointment with her doctor, following gutttate psoriasis, triggered by a staphylococcus (bacterial) throat infection. Jillian’s psoriasis usually affects her arms, thighs, chest, stomach and back and she has previously been prescribed Dovobet gel to help but felt that she wasn’t seeing any improvement.
At her appointment, Jillian’s doctor advised she could use Dithrocream to treat the psoriasis, and she was prescribed 2% Dithrocream to apply to her skin. Upon returning home that even, Jillian applied the cream to her body lesions as advised and left this on her skin overnight.
When Jillian awoke the next morning, she had suffered burns; her skin was inflamed with a sunburn-like pain. With the pain of the burns not subsiding throughout the day, Jillian visited her local pharmacy and was assessed by a pharmacist who advised she should have washed off the cream before going to sleep; Jillian’s doctor had said differently.
Jillian had been prescribed the highest strength of Dithrocream, when she should have been given a lower strength such as 0.1% for a week and then increased gradually over the next few weeks until the appropriate strength was found.
Two weeks after her check-up appointment, Jillian attended the A and E department at her local hospital as the pain had become unbearable for her. She was reviewed by the dermatologist and provided with intravenous antihistamine steroids and analgesia, before she was discharged the same day.
The dermatologist advised Jillian to attend a clinic daily for dressings and treatment, which she did for 6 days. Unfortunately, Jillian’s skin was so sore that she wasn’t able to tolerate topical steroids or emollients.
During the time spend visiting A&E and the clinic, Jillian was unable to look after her two young children, aged just 3 and 5 at the time. Her mother provided much needed help in caring for her children, whilst Jillian’s partner had to assist her with basic daily tasks, such as putting on clothing and getting washed.
“It was a difficult period for my mother to have to deal with both children when she suffers from her own health problems. My partner was required to help me with all personal care, washing, dressing, applying cream and helping with all the household duties such as cooking, cleaning and hoovering. I couldn’t move during this period as my skin was so raw.”
Unfortunately, being in and out of hospital also meant Jillian had to pay out for taxi rides back and forth and missed important milestones, such as her youngest daughters first day at primary school.
I felt like I had let them down during this time and I missed my daughter starting primary school. Also, the children had to visit me in hospital and they were scared of the hospital. I was unable to hug my children and I missed them.Jillian, victim of medical negligence
In late September, Jillian was admitted to the Dermatology Unit for treatment, her skin being described as ‘uncomfortable, stinging and raw’. On admission she had no fever, cold shivers, difficulty urinating, cough or shortness of breath. She was feeling reasonably well and was feeling stressed at the time.
Jillian had noticeable Dithranol burns on her neck, right arm and navel, therefore she was provided with pain relief to help. Microbiology swaps were taken earlier in the month which revealed a staphylococcus aureus infection.
Pain relief was provided and she had noticeable Dithranol burns on the neck, right arm flexure, umbilicus and generalised erythema. Microbiology swabs had been taken on 16th September 2015 which revealed a staphylococcus aureus infection.
The next day, Jillian was seen by a dermatologist who diagnosed her with staphylococcus scalded skin syndrome, and she started a treatment course of Flucloxicillin.
A few days later, Jillian was seeing some good improvement, but still felt unwell. She was passing blood in her urine and was then diagnosed with a urinary tract infection (UTI). She was prescribed appropriate antibiotics and made good improvements whilst on the treatment. She was then discharged two days later with no follow up. She was provided with a 10 day course of Flucloxicillin, emollients and Dovobet gel.
As a result of the negligence and burnt skin, Jillian has experienced permanent scarring on her body, which she is self-conscious about. She went through a prolonged period of pain and suffering due to being provided the incorrect dose of cream and inappropriate application advice.
Jillian contacted Fletchers in 2015, knowing what had happened to her wasn’t right. We handled Jillian’s case and the defendant insurer factually accepted that she was prescribed the 2% Dithranol and the advice regarding application of the cream was inappropriate; offering a “formal apology for the substandard care” Jillian received. Earlier this year we recently settled Jillian’s case for £5000 and we hope the compensation will help her put the negligence behind her.
Chloe Westwell, a lawyer within our medical negligence department, who dealt with Jillian’s case said: “We hope that the compensation Jillian has received will go towards helping her and her family move on from this ordeal. This case just goes to show the harm that can be caused if patients don’t received the correct dosage or application advice. We wish Jillian all the best for the future and hope she is able to get back to her old self, spending time with her children and family.”
If you’ve suffered any kind of injuries similar to what happened to Jillian, then please don’t hesitate to call us now on 03300 080 321 to talk to someone who’ll understand what you’re going through. Or alternatively, you can fill out a form here.
Chloe Westwell - Case Lawyer
Key case timeline
Jillian was prescribed with the highest strength of Dithrocream to treat her psoriasis. She should have been prescribed a lower strength, such as 0.1% to start with but instead was given 2%, along with inappropriate application advice. As a result, she suffered painful Dithranol burns, going on to develop Staphylococcal Scaled Skin Syndrome, leaving her skin raw and needing further antibiotic treatment. Jillian needed to be admitted to hospital and her skin has been left with permanent scarring from the cream.
We settled Jillian's case for £5000, compensation which we hope will help her and her family come to terms with what has happened.
The Defendant insurer factually accepted that the claimant was prescribed 2% Dithranol and they accepted that the advice regarding application of the cream prescribed was inappropriate. It was accepted that it would have been crucial to communicate to the claimant that she should wash the cream off after one hour and that it would have been preferable to detail this on prescription. It was accepted as a result the claimant suffered suspected staphylococcal scaled skin syndrome requiring further antibiotic treatment and admission to hospital.