Follow by Email

Monday, March 27, 2017

TB misdiagnosed in Sydney

When a 23-year-old university student was feeling very unwell with a persistent cough and shortness of breath, he went to his local GP in Chippendale.

Three months went by and still no better, he went back to his GP for the third time.  His doctor ordered an x-ray which revealed he had a 6 cm hole in his lung.

The doctor, thinking he may have lung cancer sent him to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPA) and on 21 October 2016, tests confirmed he had tuberculosis.

Meanwhile, during that three month period of misdiagnosis, the student infected ten people.

Tuberculosis is a slow-growing bacteria and the longer a patient goes without treatment, the more infectious they are.

He spent three weeks in isolation at RPA and another eight weeks in isolation at home.  He is still on 16.5 antibiotics a day and has to present to the hospital every weekday morning to receive his drugs which he will take for nine months.

The other ten people affected are also receiving treatment and will be monitored for two years.

"I just felt like I had a really bad flu that wouldn't go away" the patient said.  "I was otherwise still myself and even went surfing three times a week."

He thinks he picked up the disease while backpacking in Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Bali and Thailand.  Doctors told him he was one of the only non-refugee cases they had seen of TB in a long time.