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Written on 15th March 2023 by Tara Pileggi-Byrne

Boyes Turner’s medical negligence claims lawyers secured a settlement for the mother of a 27-year-old woman who died as a result of delayed surgery for a cerebellar (brain) haemorrhage.

Surgery delayed whilst waiting for scans

The young woman attended A&E with symptoms of dizziness and vomiting after a week of left-sided headaches with pain radiating to her neck. She had a CT scan which revealed a right cerebellar lesion, which was either a mass with internal bleeding or an acute intercranial haematoma (bleeding within the skull putting pressure on the brain).  An MRI scan and neurosurgical review were recommended. A referral was made to the defendant hospital and images from the scan sent to the consultant neurosurgeon to review. The neurosurgeon advised that she needed careful observation, MRI and CT scans and possible surgery. Later that night, when a bed became available, the young woman was transferred to the hospital, where an MRI scan was carried out the next afternoon which confirmed a right cerebellar haemorrhagic lesion. A decision was made that, unless she deteriorated,  surgery should be delayed until after a CT scan the next day.

Failure to escalate the patient’s deterioration to a consultant

At midnight a junior doctor was asked to review the young woman owing to her worsening headache. Despite this deterioration, the doctor failed to escalate her care to a consultant. She had a CT scan late the next morning. Two hours later she collapsed and was noted to have a Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score of 3, indicating the most severe level of neurological injury. After a further scan, she finally underwent craniectomy (removal of part of the skull) surgery to relieve pressure on the brain and to remove the haematoma (collected blood). She died a few days later.

Both the coroner and the hospital’s own serious incident (SI) investigation criticised the delays in performing the MRI and CT scans, and the failure to escalate the deterioration in the young woman’s condition to the consultant and expedite surgery. The coroner found that if surgery  had been performed before the collapse, the young woman’s death would have been avoided. The coroner’s verdict was ‘natural causes contributed to by neglect’.

Claim leads to admission of liability and settlement

The young woman did not live with her partner and had no children of her own, but was supporting her mother financially before her death. We helped her mother make a medical negligence compensation claim from the hospital, which included her loss of financial dependency in the years immediately following her daughter’s death.  The hospital responded to the claim with a full admission of liability (responsibility). The case concluded soon afterwards with an out-of-court settlement of £70,000.

If you have suffered serious injury or bereavement as a result of medical negligence, or have been contacted by HSIB/HSSIB, MNSI or NHS Resolution after your hospital care, you can talk to one of our solicitors for advice about how to respond or make a claim for compensation by contacting us here.