Woman dies from flesh eating bug a week after complaining of shoulder pain

Helen Edgar Credit: Irwin Mitchell

A family has received a £415,000 settlement after the West Suffolk NHS Trust admitted that a mum died as a result of a ’flesh-eating disease’ doctors failed to diagnose.

Helen Edgar died aged 41 just one week after first attending hospital complaining of shoulder pain she thought may have resulted from stretching to reach a cupboard.

However, over the coming days doctors at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust failed to diagnose and treat the mum-of-two for the rare bacterial infection necrotising fasciitis – a form of flesh-eating disease. The infection was finally diagnosed but she died on 26 May, 2013, from multiple organ failure caused by necrotising fasciitis.

Following her death, Helen’s family, of Stowmarket, Suffolk, instructed lawyers to investigate her care and help secure the futures of her children, Kyle, 24, and 17-year-old Kayleigh.

Helen Edgar with her family Credit: Irwin Mitchell

Now at a hearing yesterday in the High Court, a Judge approved a settlement from the NHS Trust which admitted full liability that delays in diagnosing and treating the infection constituted a failure in the duty of care it should have provided to Helen. Helen met her husband Ian in 1988 and the pair married in 1993.

In her spare time she enjoyed crochet and knitting and would make clothes for any grandchildren she may have in the future. She also loved enjoying her home and garden.

This was a tragic case where Mrs Edgar presented to the Trust with a rare condition which was not promptly diagnosed. The Trust admitted in May 2015, following investigation, that there had been a delay in making a prompt diagnosis and since that time it has been seeking to resolve settlement of this claim.

The Trust expresses its unreserved apologies and deep regret for the tragic incident that has affected the life of Mr Edgar and his family.

The Trust has learnt lessons as a result of Mrs Edgar’s rare presentation, and will continue to do everything it can to ensure that similar circumstances are not repeated in the future.

– West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust