Sheila was in her early 40’s when she went to hospital after a series of very painful headaches. What she actually had suffered was a brain hemorrhage. Tests were carried out and after a few days she was sent home. She should have been kept in for more extensive tests and these would have revealed the full extent of her condition. This would have resulted in a referral to the neurosurgeons and a routine operation where the bleed in the brain is treated by putting a coil on it.
A few days after her discharge home she suffered a second hemorrhage and she returned to hospital. More extensive tests were performed including an MR scan of the brain. She was informed afterwards that all was in order (she had not had a brain hemorrhage and did not need surgery) and she could go home.
At home she suffered her third and the largest hemorrhage. This time upon admission to the same hospital a proper diagnosis was made and Sheila was referred to James Cook University Hospital for the coiling operation. Further enquiries by the hospital and a review of the previous MR scan showed that had the scan been properly looked at it would have revealed the first and second hemorrhages.
The hospital were quick to admit that they were responsible for the third hemorrhage but denied liability for the second one on the basis they acted reasonably in letting her go home (notwithstanding that she was sick in the discharge room) and that even if they kept her in she wouldn’t have been operated on in time to avoid the second hemorrhage.
Sheila was working casually at the time of the incidents but hadn’t been able to get back to her old job. Her personality had changed. Previously she was very outgoing and sociable but now she was introverted and anxious.
The settlement of £80,000 plus costs reflected the serious nature of the injuries that she suffered and the fact she hadn’t returned to work.
Hilton Armstrong – November 2019