A two-year-old girl has been left scarred for life after she suffered the “worst case” of hand, foot and mouth disease – which bungling doctors misdiagnosed as eczema.
Shocking pictures show little Aubrey Weatherall with painful blisters covering her body and plasters over parts of her limbs where her skin had peeled off.
Aubrey was rushed to hospital after she suddenly started scratched “uncontrollably” and she “squirmed in agony” in her bed on October 19.
But despite mum Danielle, 29, saying it couldn’t be eczema medics gave her an anti-irritant cream and sent her home.
Little Aubrey went back to Royal Stoke University Hospital on October 21 when her skin was peeling “like a snake” and red spots appeared on her hands and feet.
Finally when a nurse saw her, she told Aubrey’s parents her daughter had “the worst case of hand, foot and mouth” she had seen in 20 years.
The disease should not be treated by any product and Danielle, a self-employed cake maker, believes the misdiagnosis led to Aubrey’s condition getting worse.
Danielle, who lives with husband Peter, a warehouse team leader, Aubrey, and son Tyler, nine, in Bucknall, Stoke-on-Trent, said: “It was horrific.
“She had a temperature but no other symptoms. When I put her to bed at 6pm she suddenly started scratching and itching uncontrollably.
“She has eczema and chronic idiopathic urticaria – where her skin can flare up from an allergen – but she has never scratched like this before.
“I gave her some Piriton and Calpol but she squirmed around in agony, scratching herself against the bed with her legs and arms.
“I applied some eczema cream but it didn’t help, so I dialled 111 and they advised I take her to A&E within the hour at around 10.30pm.
“We saw a nurse and a consultant and I said she had eczema but she has never been like this. I said it couldn’t be an outbreak of that.
“But she has chronic idiopathic urticaria, which means no-one knows what can trigger it, and he said she must have touched something at school.
“So he gave her some antihistamines and said to see the doctor the next day to get some stronger eczema cream.“She was crying uncontrollably through the night, the cream didn’t do anything, but the next day the GP said it was her eczema and just gave her more cream and antihistamines.
“All through the day and night she was screaming and scratching, it was just horrible.
“The next morning she had these red spots under her feet and on her hands and blisters all around her mouth.
“She had sores all over her body and her skin was just peeling off like a snake.
“When I got her dressed to rush her to hospital her skin just flaked off as she put her clothes on.
“When the nurse saw her she said straight away: ‘That’s the worst case of hand, foot and mouth disease I’ve seen in 20 years.’
“The doctor put her on 20ml of antibiotics a day for seven days because the infection was so bad.
“She’s been left with scarring all over her body, and in some places the skin has come off and there is scarring underneath.
“It’s cleaning up now, but I’m really worried she’s going to be left with permanent scarring.”Hand, foot and mouth disease cannot be cured but usually clears up after seven to ten days and patients are advised to take pain killers and avoid infection.
Danielle, whose husband and son also have eczema, said doctors should have listened more to her when Audrey was first taken in.
She believes by advising her to rub eczema into Audrey’s skin it infected her daughter and led to the horrific blistering rashes.
She said: “I have done some nursing and I can understand how when a patient is presented who has certain conditions it can mask the real problem.
“But they should also take account of those who really know the patient. Peter and Tyler both have eczema and I knew this wasn’t that – it was much worse.“She’s never been like that before and I was telling the doctor but he seemed so sure I took his advice.
“I’m sure that it was the eczema cream that led to the infection. Once her skin was broken from scratching it opened to infection and just got worse.
“You shouldn’t have to have antibiotics after hand foot and mouth, it’s horrific.
“Now I’m left feeling really bad because I’m sure I infected my own daughter – but I was just following by doctor’s advice.
“I know there are more important things than looks, but I will be left with so much guilt if that treatment has left my baby with permanent scarring.”