Delayed diagnosis of subarachnoid haemorrhage – £3,486,000

Mr Baxter awoke in the early hours with a sudden and extremely severe headache, which he described as an explosion in his head, and his neck was aching. He eventually fell asleep again but his wife noted that he was groaning in his sleep. Throughout the next day, he appeared confused and forgetful and is wife took him to see the GP.

Mr Baxter did not report the sudden onset of the violent headache and the GP thought he had a viral infection and recommended fluids and Paracetamol. A couple of days later, he was taken to A&E, medicated with morphine and referred to the Acute Medical Unit. He was discharged a couple of hours later.

He continued to be unwell and was seen at home by his GP. His wife called an ambulance after finding him unconscious on the floor and noting that he had vomited.

A CT scan showed Mr Baxter had suffered a subarachnoid haemorrhage. A craniotomy was performed and the aneurysm was clipped. He suffered a left hemiplegia which improved but he remained weaker on the left side and suffered from left-sided neglect. He was left with very poor short-term memory and little insight into his own limitations meaning that he was then unable to be left alone. His wife described him as having undergone a complete personality change.

Jane Canning, medical negligence specialist, pursued a claim on the basis that the subarachnoid haemorrhage should have been diagnosed during his first attendance at A&E, in which event subsequent treatment would have resulted in a full recovery.

Posted in A&E claims