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Super-fit 20-year-old died of flesh eating virus days after it was dismissed as tonsillitis

Super-fit 20-year-old died of flesh eating virus days after it was dismissed as tonsillitis

The young man died just days after doctors told parents his illness was tonsillitis.

A grieving couple have blasted doctors for a 'catalogue of errors' following their super healthy son's death caused by a flesh-eating virus.

Medical professionals dismissed the young man's illness believing it to be tonsillitis.

20-year-old Luke Abrahams felt unwell last month and after complaining of an awfully sore throat to his GP he was given antibiotics.

Just days later the railway engineer and amateur footballer started to feel even worse with pains in his legs.

Luke Abrahams was a typical, fit-and-healthy 20 year old prior to his death.

His concerned parents took him to hospital where, upon assessment, he was sent home. His condition began to deteriorate further and he was in agony, even begging his parents to call 999 saying he 'couldn't take the pain' any longer.

He was then rushed into surgery at Northampton General Hospital but sadly died on the operating table and was pronounced dead on 23 January.

A post mortem examination revealed that Abrahams had been suffering from septicaemia caused by a disease known as Lemierre syndrome - a bacterial infection and flesh-eating disease.

Heartbroken parents, Richard Abrahams and Julie Needham are distraught and have reprimanded doctors for their negligence.

The couple are now considering suing the NHS under the claim that medics had missed multiple opportunities to potentially save their son.

Luke had complained about his pain to medical professionals multiple times but it was dismissed as tonsillitis.

Luke's father, Richard, 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.

“I can’t say whether he would definitely be here now, but they cut corners and misdiagnosed him.

“Whichever way you look at it, none of the healthcare providers did their job properly. We’re just left with ‘what ifs’.”

Luke's initial diagnosis from Penvale Medical Centre, East Hunsbury on 15 January was tonsillitis which he was prescribed some antibiotics for. After two days of continuing to feel unwell, Luke called his GP back but was unable to get through so dialled 111 for help. Luke was advised to go to A&E by the operator and was told he would be placed on an intravenous drip, but his family have confirmed that this never happened and Luke had to leave the hospital without receiving any treatment.

The following day, Luke awoke with severe pain in his leg which kept him up throughout the night. The family rang 111 and were given a consultation via Zoom call where he was diagnosed with sciatica and prescribed naproxen to relieve the pain.

Luke with his parents, Richard and Julie and younger brother, Jake.

The next day, Luke's pain had become even worse, spreading to his left buttock and leaving him unable to get out of bed. Luke's concerned mother, Julie rang 999 and begged for an ambulance to be sent out - this was refused. She also tried calling the Luke's local GP to arrange transport to take him to A&E but no-one called back. After pleading, an ambulance eventually arrived at Luke's family home where paramedics told his parents that his high heart rate and temperature was due to his body fighting an infection.

Two days passed and on January 22 Luke told his mum, “I can’t take the pain anymore”. The family called 111 again who sent an ambulance.

Julie 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.

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.”

Featured Image Credit: SWNS