The Aimee Copeland story in the news about her ziplining accident into brackish waters when she contracted necrotizing fasciitis, an aggressive flesh-eating bacteria brought back awful memories for me. This is what happened to my daughter, Isabel, and was the inspiration for the start of Isabel Healthcare and the Isabel diagnosis checklist system.
I really feel for the Copeland family as their daughter fights for her life. In the space of a few days their lives have been turned upside down and will never be the same again. It appears that Aimee herself is still not conscious and may not be aware of all that has happened to her.
As you may expect, I have read the accounts of what happened, and it appears that, as with Isabel herself, the doctors should have gotten there quicker. Severe pain and or fever after the large cut should have rung alarm bells. Necrotizing Fasciitis (NF) is quite rare and the local clinicians who cared for Aimee had probably not seen a case of it before then, so they did not think of NF as a possibility -- until it was too late.
This is precisely why, after my daughter's case, it seemed obvious that all clinicians should have a diagnosis checklist system to help avoid them missing cases like this. 12 years ago these tools were not practical and not readily available. Today they are and this case vividly demonstrates once again why differential diagnosis or ddx tools should be part of routine care and provided by all healthcare institutions to their clinicians.
Today, with Aimee fighting for her life, I ask myself how much longer will it be before the medical profession accepts the need for these tools. How many more Aimees will it need?