Wrong diagnosis leads to toe amputation for Cobar resident

Date: May 27, 2020

A Cobar resident, who recently experienced emergency amputation, may have been able to avoid the procedure altogether had the hospital not turned him away for his original health concern.

As first reported by The Sydney Morning Herald, 58-year-old John Stingemore was vacationing in Sydney in late 2019. Shortly after returning home from his trip, he began to experience blistering on his foot. He didn't think much of it at first, until said blistering became badly infected, prompting him to visit the emergency wing of his local medical facility – Cobar District Hospital.

But when Stingemore showed the nurse his ailing foot, she told him his symptoms weren't so serious as to warrant a trip to the ER, according to Stingemore.

"She said, 'You need to be going to see a [general practitioner] … you shouldn't be here, it's not a life-threatening injury,'" Stingemore explained to the newspaper.

Doctor fails to provide extra antibiotics

Stingemore followed the nurse's advice and the attending GP prescribed him antibiotics; he didn't go back in for another two weeks due to the Christmas holiday. Stingemore enquired whether he should receive a larger dosage in the interim, to which the GP responded, "Let's play it by ear." If the condition grew worse, he could check himself into the hospital.

That's ultimately what wound up happening, as his New Year's holiday celebrations were sidelined and Stingemore was transported to Dubbo Base Hospital by plane.

Unfortunately, the mishandling continued as the follow-up round of antibiotics he was told he'd receive in the early morning hours weren't administered on time.The infection and accompanying symptoms forced the attending doctors to amputate one of his toes.

"I would have done it myself except I wouldn't be able to sew the thing up properly," Stingemore quipped.

String of incidents

Although a lawsuit alleging negligence has yet to be filed, there have been a number of incidents at Dubbo and Cobar Base hospitals in the past year, in which patients who should have received better treatment didn't, per a separate report by The Sydney Morning Herald has learned. This includes a man who had a significant portion of his intestines removed – after being turned away multiple times for symptoms that led to the surgery – and another resident who was denied a blood transfusion.

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