Pauline Cafferkey is critically ill.

  Forum Editor 14:21 14 Oct 2015

I'm sure that all of us would join in wishing her a speedy recovery - she's in the right place. If anyone can help her fight this it's the specialists at The Royal Free hospital.

My immediate reaction to this sad development is that Pauline was seen by a doctor last week and was sent home after being told that she was 'probably suffering from a virus'.

Well yes, she is, but I'm sure that - being a nurse - she would have explained to this doctor that she had previously been treated for Ebola. That should have triggered an immediate alarm bell in this doctor's mind. I wonder why nobody alerted The Royal Free straight away. I'm not a doctor, but even I would have done that.

I don't have the full facts, so I'm reserving my judgement. I just hope that this very brave and unfortunate woman has all the NHS stops pulled out on her behalf, and that after her recovery she is closely monitored for a long time.

  Forum Editor 14:23 14 Oct 2015

I forgot to post a link to this story - here it is.

  spuds 16:28 14 Oct 2015

Perhaps I am going to sound very negative here, but on many occasions you hear about doctor's are only human and mistakes can be made, usually when someone challenges a service or attempts to report a problem that they know about.

Yes this is a terrible case, and so is the loss of life through ebola that as effected many many families. There was a television investigative documentary on not all that long ago, covering the beginning of the outbreak which the world got to know about. That programme was very alarming in the evidence it produced, because had steps been taken in the very earlier stages, a lot of this could have perhaps been prevented, but was actually ignored by those organisations that should have been in the forefront of that epidemic, but were not.

You may find this article about a young Belgian scientist interesting click here "That should have triggered an immediate alarm bell in this doctor's mind. I wonder why nobody alerted The Royal Free straight away. I'm not a doctor, but even I would have done that."

Again sounding very negative, there are daily cases that ring alarm bells, and action might be taken, but on the other side of the coin, action might not be taken, in fear that someone might be branded that they had it all wrong. And would a member of the public stand a chance of being listened to, because I would say that there would be zero chance of that happening, unless possible court action was pending. For example, check to see how many serious cases have come to notice, of wrongful surgery procedures, yet a junior doctor thought that, but was overruled by a more senior doctor. Over the past few years, my own local NHS Trust of Hospitals as had more than its fair share of compensation claims, because a senior doctor had got it wrong. And the worrying part of this, is that some of those involved were allowed to continue in their trade, until it became far to serious.

Like I said, I may and probably do sound very negative, and I do not apologise or offer any kindness for that, because it happens more often than people think it does, or would even consider those facts, until the day it may happen to them or a loved one. It had to be said, so I have said it.

No doubt someone will come along and say that I have got it all wrong, and so be it, because I know the evidence is out there to support me.

  spuds 16:31 14 Oct 2015

Correction: The highlighted text should have been another paragraph, but it appears to have jumped to after click here?.

  Ungus 18:05 14 Oct 2015

Sad case I see she is not getting any better. I think of her family recriminations can wait.

  morddwyd 19:31 14 Oct 2015

According to the latest BBC news, it is meningitis which is causing her the greatest problems, not Ebola, though it obviously doesn't help.

There are conflicting reports, but it seems possible that she was showing the symptoms of meningitis and not Ebola, which would explain why she was sent home as meningitis is notoriously difficult to spot early.

  Forum Editor 22:23 14 Oct 2015

Unfortunately, it is Ebola - the first known case of the disease recurring once somebody had recovered.

A very worrying time for Pauline and her family.

  morddwyd 09:43 15 Oct 2015

Yes, I can find no further link to meningitis.

It was mentioned on the local BBC News bulletin last evening, but I've not seen or heard any further references.

  spuds 11:41 15 Oct 2015

"Yes, I can find no further link to meningitis."

Whatever the case, there are many bugs, diseases etc that are very difficult to find symptoms in the early stages, and by the time all the tests are done, it may well be to late for the victim or those trying to find the problem.

On this forum we have a variety of people, including many older persons. None of those are immune from any tragedy that a sudden illness might occur.

A typical example of that, was about two years ago, when I didn't 'feel quite right' over a weekend. Usually I am a very good judge of my own body workings. Contacted NHS Direct, and explained the symptoms to an 'advisor' who transferred the call to a 'trained practitioner', who in all honesty gave me no faith at all, to what they were stating or suggesting. About 7AM on Monday morning I made a visit to the local Urgent Care Centre, attached to the local A&E department (having had enough!). The result of that, I was transferred to one of the main hospitals, told I would be having an emergency operation within hours, if thing had not settled down through a combination of medication. I was in hospital for five days, something that I would have never expected or wanted, all for what turned out to be, a urinary infection problem. Had I taken the advice of the 'trained practitioner', and remained in bed with paracetamol, who knows where I would have ended, certainly not feeling comfortable, that's for sure.

So in a nutshell, mistakes can are are often made, but I think in most cases our own senses tell us very clearly that something is not right, and I think this was most likely the case with this unfortunate young lady, and hopefully like myself, some goodness will come out of all this. Either for the young lady herself or medical science. Whatever the case, it's going to be a very tough choice for all concerned. And I sincerely wish her well.

  Runabout 11:45 15 Oct 2015


I did not see the report that you saw but I did see one during the evening that could explain the situation.

In the report that I saw, it was said that it was known that people who had recovered from Ebola could continue to have a trace of the virus in the membrane surrounding the spine and that since she seemed to have inflammation of this area which is one symptom of meningitis but can also indicate Ebola it was suggested that she may have been initially misdiagnosed with this instead because the doctor may not have know about the possibility of the trace existing.

If the BBC was quoting an early report of this, they may not have received the full details.

  Forum Editor 10:10 16 Oct 2015

At 1pm yesterday the Royal Free hospital issued a Press message simply saying "We are sad to announce that Pauline Cafferkey’s condition has deteriorated and she is now critically ill. Pauline is being treated for Ebola in the high level isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital."

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