Mum’s tongue fell out after doctors made terrible mistake

'She was not given a chance to fight it.'

This late pensioner’s heartbroken daughters have spoken up about the shocking medical errors that led to their mum’s tongue dying in her mouth before she passed away in hospital, aged 84.

Patricia Hutchison had been complaining of discomfort in her tongue, trouble with her eyesight, and pain in her shoulders and in her head.

Her daughters, Susan Bartle and Pauline Rissetto, argue that the doctors repeatedly failed to see the connection between her symptoms – which were telltale signs of temporal arteritis.

Instead, the discomfort in her tongue was misdiagnosed as oral thrush.

In a matter of weeks the situation became so grim that their mother could no longer talk, or eat, and needed to be fed through a tube with her dying tongue taped to the side of her mouth.

She was eventually admitted to hospital, where her girls say poor standards of care and inadequate hygiene put their mother at risk.

Ms Hutchinson died in hospital in January 2015.

Since then, the Executive Medical Director of the Darlington NHS Trust, Professor Chris Grey, apologised for the failure to diagnose the Ms Hutchinson with temporal arteritis, explaining that as a rare condition it’s ‘a difficult diagnosis to make’.

‘I believe it was clinical error rather than any deliberately negligent care.’ 

Daughter Susan says that they will never know if their mum’s death could have been prevented: ‘she was not given a chance to fight it and she was given no dignity.’

‘This is not about money, we are not interested in compensation, we want people to learn from what has happened and our mother is priceless. 

Temporal arteritis

Also known as giant-cell arteritis, temporal arteritis, is a condition where the blood vessels in the head and face become inflamed. In extreme cases it can restrict blood supply to the eyes and tongue, causing blindness and tissue death.

Symptoms include:

  • fever
  • headache
  • sensitivity of the scalp
  • pain in the jaw and tongue when chewing
  • necrosis of the tongue
  • problems with eyesight including double vision, blurred vision, and sudden blindness)
  • ringing in the ears

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