The harrowing and real case where PicSafe might have saved the life of a 4-year-old girl

October 25, 2017

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Grief square

Here we present a harrowing and real-life case of a four-year-old girl who presented in Emergency with a rash. Meningococcal Septicemia went undiagnosed for many hours, and the child expired.


An elderly grandmother presents with her four-year-old granddaughter at Emergency. She has apparently had been "hot, coughing, crying, and got stiff and jerky for a few seconds".

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The photos above are not from the real case because, unfortunately, photos were not taken. They do indicate what was present at the time, as the case progressed. Click the button below to read the full case study.

Full Case Study


  • Meningococcal Septicemia went undiagnosed for many hours, and the child expires.
  • The family and all involved treating the girl were distraught.
  • A court case was brought against the hospital and concluded the patient might have survived had the delivery of medical care been more appropriate and expeditious.
  • Had a photo been sent to a paediatrician or dermatologist requesting their opinion, the outcome might have been very different.


Doctors are in an unenviable position.

  • One one hand, if they use their phone to take a clinical photo using the standard camera app, they are likely to breach patient privacy regulations, and thus they are discouraged from doing so.
  • On the other hand, if doctors don't take a photo in situations like described above, patients lives are lost.

What you can do

When doctors face the dilemma of whether they should take clinical photos on their phone, the lesser of evils is commonly accepted. Doctors have been enduring the increased risk of breaching patient privacy regulations, and as such, using ones smartphone to take clinical photos has become the standard of care. If a hospital does not provide an environment in which doctors can deliver the standard of care, they risk losing lives, losing staff, and they are potentially liable.

We feel it is incumbent upon hospitals to provide its doctors with a compliant and easy-to-use method for capturing and sharing clinical photos — this is what PicSafe does, and this is why we created PicSafe. If you work in a hospital, please tell your Head of IT, the Chief Medical Information Officer, the Head of Emergency or anyone with the power to push this out through your hospital. Let us know, and we will provide you as much support as we can to help the cause. If they are slow to move, and you are currently sending clinical photos via email or text message, just download PicSafe and start using it.