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John’s story

John's symptoms began with flu like symptoms and pain in his right buttock the following day. Here's John's story.
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This is John’s diary of events

Thursday 19th December 1996

Felt ill on Thursday evening, just like mild flu symptoms. I had two painkillers and went to bed.

Friday 20th December

I felt not too bad all day; I just kept taking painkillers. In the evening I felt a bit of discomfort sitting on the couch while watching TV. The pain was in the right side of my buttocks.

Saturday 21st December

I woke up in a bit of pain, again in my right buttock and as the day went on the pain got worse. I stayed in bed all day and by 11pm the pain was so bad we phoned the emergency doctor. The doctor arrived about 1:30am on Sunday 22nd and said I had a skin infection. He gave me antibiotics and a few painkillers to take at that point and left a prescription.

Sunday 22nd December

First thing in the morning we took the prescription to the chemist who could not read the writing. As our Health Centre is open 24 hours we took the prescription there and showed it to the doctor on duty. He looked at it, guessed and said, “I think that’s what it says” and gave us another prescription which we took back to the chemist which they made up immediately.

Throughout Sunday my condition worsened and come late afternoon we called our Health Centre for another visit from the Doctor. We were asked to go to the Health Centre as no Doctor was available for house calls at that time. I was taken by my family to the Health Centre where I was examined.

Again, I was told that I had a skin infection and this time also an abscess. I must make it clear at this point that my buttocks and my scrotum were both extremely swollen to about the size of tennis balls.

As the evening went on my condition deteriorated drastically, I was drifting in and out of consciousness and my scrotum and buttocks were becoming very swollen. My wife and family were becoming very concerned. Around 9:45pm my daughter phoned the Health Centre, the female who answered the phone was given the whole background, she advised us that no house call could be available for a couple of hours.

My daughter then asked to speak to the Doctor. It was explained to him that my scrotum was swollen the size of tennis balls and my daughters words were “My father is in excruciating pain and deteriorating in front of me”. He said that she was exaggerating so my daughter asked “Can you not at least come out and see?”

Reluctantly the Doctor then told her it would be at least two hours before he could get to me. In frustration she put the phone down and my wife phoned the A&E at our nearest Hospital. She was told to phone for an ambulance straight away. The ambulance arrived within minutes.

The paramedic looked at my scrotum and said I should be taken to Hospital straight away. I arrived at 10:30pm and was taken to a room at 11:25pm. I was seen by a Doctor at about 2am Monday 23rd.

Monday 23rd December

The Doctor examined me and advised myself, my wife and my eldest son that I was very ill and would have to be operated on. I signed the consent form and was then told by a different doctor that I had Fournier’s Gangrene, the dead skin needed to be removed and that I might lose my testicles.

The surgical senior house officer was then sent for, he diagnosed Necrotising Fasciitis. They gave me some medicine to drink and sent me for an x-ray. I was in and out of consciousness at this point so I do not really recall very much at this point so I relied on my sons records which he kept during my time in Casualty and the ICU.

I was only operated on at 9am, because the Doctors were concerned about when I had last had a drink. My last drink was approx 8pm on the 22nd Dec and I had not eaten since 19th Dec. After the operation I was transferred to the ICU. At 1pm my wife and family was called to the Hospital.

A nurse took my wife and family to see a Doctor at 2:30pm. He advised them that I was very ill and had Necrotising Fasciitis and explained that it was a flesh eating bug. He also explained that on Tuesday afternoon they could see a Mr Chaubey, who had previous knowledge of this illness.

Tuesday 24th December

About 1:30 – 2am my family were asked to sign a consent form for yet another operation, my wife was to exhausted so therefore my two eldest sons went up. They signed the form and went home.

7pm the Hospital phoned again they had forgotten to have a consent form signed for a colostomy bag to be fitted so my wife gave her consent. During my family’s visits to see me, the staff in the ICU explained that the Doctors had to remove more flesh that morning. This took place in ICU – the reason for this I do not know.

During my stay in Hospital I was infected with M.R.S.A.


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