We settled a claim on behalf of a father and his two sons in relation to the death of his wife due to a failure to identify a sub arachnoid haemorrhage in time to prevent further fatal bleeding.
Mrs Lucia Sharma had previously been admitted to the hospital suffering from symptoms which included headache and neck pain. A CT scan, which was reported to be normal, in fact showed a sub arachnoid haemorrhage which should have been spotted and treatment instituted in time to prevent any further bleeding.
Accurate reporting of the CT scan and/or further investigations should have led to the diagnosis being made and Mrs Sharma’s prompt transfer to a neurosurgical unit for treatment by way of coiling, a procedure performed by interventional neuroradiologists which avoids much of the trauma associated with open surgery. However, Mrs Sharma was discharged with no clear diagnosis and ongoing headache and other symptoms. The expert advice available to the claimant is to the effect that a coiling treatment would have been successful, leading to a full recovery.
The clinicians at East Surrey Hospital appreciated their error and asked Mrs Sharma to return to hospital urgently but this was too late to prevent a further bleed later that day resulting in her death the following day.
The NHS Trust responsible for East Surrey Hospital, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, admitted liability for Mrs Sharma’s death and, after investigations into the value of the claim, negotiations resulted in a settlement.