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James Bell: Tragic Outcome After Simple Medical Errors

By Principal Lawyer, Clinical Negligence

I have recently been instructed on a very tragic case involving  the death of  young father whose loss is keenly felt by his 3 children and wife.He attended his local A and E twice in three days with the classic signs of a developing sub-arachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) -  loss of consciousness and the worst headache imaginable. Incredibly , he was not offered CT scan on either occasion he attended A and E at his local North London Hospital in the space of just 3 days.A Sub-arachnoid haemorrhage is a sudden leakage of blood from a ruptured blood vessel in the brain. The cause is usually a weakness in a brain vessel wall (aneurysm) combined with the pressure of the circulating blood. The higher the blood pressure the greater the risk of a burst in a weakened vessel. The initial symptom is usually a sudden, intense headache that lasts for more than an hour, often at the back of the head. Vomiting and collapse and sometimes loss of consciousness often follow. Neurosurgical operations to repair the aneurysm can be performed and the quicker the procedure is performed, the better the outcome for the patient.This is a very needless and tragic death and the fact that classic SAH signs were missed twice in 3 days by an A and E department is very concerning. I do hope the NHS trust undertakes a proper inquiry into the full circumstances of this case.James Bell is a Partner in the Russell Jones & Walker clinical negligence team. If you or a member of your family have a clinical negligence enquiry please call our expert clinical negligence solicitors on 0800 916 9049, fill in our short online claim form or email and one of our specialist clinical negligence team will be in touch.