December 9, 2022

A man has been wrongly prescribed antibiotics and has an allergic reaction

  • Jeffrey Todd, a TikToker who documented his monkeypox, called his medical treatment.
  • He told CBS he was misdiagnosed by doctors who prescribed unnecessary treatment.
  • He developed an allergic reaction to the treatment, which “only made it worse”, he said.

A man with monkeypox has said he developed an allergic reaction after doctors gave him the wrong medicine, thinking he had an entirely different condition.

“Doctors misdiagnosed me left and right,” Jeffrey Todd told CBS News.

Todd described the experience as “emotionally distressing” and called on healthcare providers to be more knowledgeable about managing the condition.

“It was too much waiting, too much pausing, too much indifference there,” he said.

Button that wasn’t a button

Todd had documented his monkeypox symptoms on TikTok. His video showing an inch-wide scab-covered lesion on his right cheek was widely seen, attracting over half a million likes.

He first became aware that he might have monkeypox when a pimple-like bump on his cheek began to develop a red ring, he told CBS.

“It looked a lot like a photo I had seen on the CDC website,” he said.

That night, he developed lumps on his arms and back, as well as shooting aches and pains, according to CBS.

“Misdiagnosed me left and right”

Although his doctor suspected monkeypox, Todd said he did not receive proper medical attention right away.

He said he had not received the results of his monkeypox test for nine days, in part because the sample had been mishandled.

In the meantime, “doctors have been misdiagnosing me left and right,” looking for other explanations, he said.

This monkeypox outbreak doesn’t look exactly like the medical textbook definition, so doctors can easily mistake the rash for other illnesses, as Insider previously reported.

That’s what happened in Todd’s case. A doctor thought the symptoms could be due to a serious infection caused by bacteria called staphylococcus.

He prescribed antibiotics, which would be effective against staph but useless against monkeypox, which is a virus.

Todd said he developed an allergic reaction to antibiotics which “only made it worse”.

monkeypox lesions of different types

Examples of monkeypox lesions.

United Kingdom HSA

Todd was cleared to use the antiviral known as TPOXX nine days after he first sought medical attention.

The tablets are approved for use against smallpox, but not monkeypox, so they can only be prescribed with special permission from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Once he got it, that treatment made him better, he said.

Todd is not alone. Patients have often been misdiagnosed during this outbreak, meaning their symptoms worsen without adequate medical support, Insider previously reported.

This form of monkeypox is not considered particularly deadly. Yet the disease can cause excruciating pain.

Most patients will recover on their own and will not need antiviral treatment. But prescribing strong painkillers can help them cope with the worst, Insider previously reported.