February 6, 2009

Hospital Error Causes Death

A woman who lost her limbs and eyesight to a near-fatal medical error has returned home after months of rehabilitation.

Tabitha Mullings has been through more in the last five months than most people will go through in a lifetime.

Her ordeal started in September when the 32-year-old was discharged from Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York City. Staff diagnosed her with kidney stones and sent her home with painkillers – but that's when things took a terrible turn, Mullings claims.

VIDEO: Click here to see more on Tabitha's recovery.

Over the next 24 hours, she developed a sepsis infection, which eventually cut off circulation to her limbs. Sepsis is the presence of bacteria in the blood. It’s a serious, life-threatening infection that rapidly gets worse. It can arise from infections throughout the body, including infections in the lungs, abdomen, and urinary tract, the National Institutes of Health said on its Web site.

The infection left Mullings legally blind and doctors were forced to amputate both her arms below the elbow and the legs below the knee joint.

After five months in rehabilitation, the Brooklyn mother has returned home to a strong support system.

“With all my friends and family telling me how I motivated them — it gave me the strength to keep going,” Mullings told FOX 5 News in New York City.

Her fiancé, Moe Davis, proposed to her while she was battling to live in the hospital.

“Because of him, I’m here,” she said.

Mullings, who wears her engagement ring around her neck, said she has bad days, but it’s her faith that keeps her going.

“I do have bad days as well, if you have one of those, close your eyes and thank God you are living and can live another day to make it better,” she said.

Mullings plans to sue the city and the Brooklyn Hospital Center for malpractice.

In a written statement released Thursday, the hospital said it was pleased to learn that Mullings had been discharged from the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine and wished her well in her continuing recovery.

The statement also said the hospital cannot discuss the matter any further due to various state and federal regulations relating to the privacy of patient information.

Last month, a similar scenario unfolded in Brazil where a 20-year old model lost her hands and feet, and later died, after getting a sepsis infection.

Mariana Bridi da Costa became ill on Dec. 30, and was also initially diagnosed with kidney stones. She was sent home and soon developed a sepsis infection which cut off circulation to her hands and feet. Doctors amputated, but Bridi da Costa did not bounce back from the infection. She died Jan. 24.

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