Woman left 'frying' from mystery skin condition

Treatment of saline
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A woman says she was left in agony with her skin "frying" after suffering a mystery skin condition.

Julie Mitchell, 63, went to Christchurch Hospital's emergency department in October with a swollen tongue, throat and glands, but was sent home, Stuff reports.

By the time she was finally admitted three days later, after multiple GP visits, she had a painful blistering rash across her body and a tongue so swollen she could not swallow.

But, because the hospital was baffled about what was wrong, she was admitted into a general ward.

After six days of "frying", as she describes it, she was diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson syndrome - a serious disorder of the skin and mucous membranes which can be fatal.

Months later her body is scarred by the rash and her finger and toe nails are falling off, Stuff reports. She is partially deaf and vision is painful.

Ms Mitchell says her subsequent care has not been good enough, claiming she was unable to get a follow-up appointment and was told to consult a GP. That doctor then told Ms Mitchell to look up her condition online.

"I don't want to talk to a computer," she told Stuff.

"I want to talk to a real person to understand what is happening to my body."

Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) acting chief executive Mary Gordon told Stuff she could not discuss a patient's care publicly but encouraged Ms Mitchell to get in touch with the customer services team.