Parents Warn Of Head Injury Dangers After Son Left Brain Damaged

Child Head Injury

07.07.2009

Parents Warn Of Head Injury Dangers After Son Left Brain Damaged

The parents of a 12-year-old boy left brain damaged following a delay in treating a head injury he sustained playing football are warning others about how quickly serious head injuries can develop.

Rees Ross, who is now 12, was just seven when he clashed heads with another boy whilst playing football after school. Rees suffered an extradural haematoma, a build up of blood on the brain, which left him brain damaged and disabled.

West Lincolnshire Primary Care Trust (PCT) has agreed to pay compensation after doctors delayed admitting him to hospital despite repeated calls for help from Rees' mother. Law firm Irwin Mitchell is representing Rees and is now investigating Rees' lifelong care needs in order to calculate a compensation amount.

When Rees came home after the football injury he complained of a headache, pain above his ear and felt sleepy. His mother Lisa Ross phoned NHS Direct and was advised to keep monitoring him after giving him painkillers.

Rees' condition became worse and he woke up crying and complaining about his headache. Lisa called the out-of-hours service run by West Lincolnshire PCT. She was advised by a doctor that the painkillers had probably worn off and that she should give Rees another dose, but to call back if things changed.

By 9pm Rees' condition had deteriorated and he had vomited and then went to sleep immediately. Lisa called the out-of-hours service again to say that Rees had vomited. She spoke to a second doctor who advised that Rees should be left as he was settled.

In the early hours of the following morning Rees suffered a seizure and was rushed to hospital. He was diagnosed with an extradural haematoma and underwent surgery but was sadly left brain damaged. Rees is now disabled and can only walk short distances. He needs to use a wheelchair for longer distances, and also has speech and language difficulties.

Tim Annett, Associate Solicitor and a Medical Law specialist at Irwin Mitchell is representing the family. He said: "This tragic case highlights how difficult it is for doctors to assess patients by telephone, particularly where children are concerned. It shows that head injuries must be treated seriously and great care must be taken not to miss important symptoms.

"Rees suffered from bleeding between the membrane surrounding the brain and the inner surface of the skull. This is often associated with a skull fracture, but not always. The outcome is dependent on the speed with which the condition is recognised and treated. If Rees had been referred to hospital sooner then the outcome could have been very different."

Rees' mother Lisa Ross said: "This has been a terrible situation for our family and we want to raise awareness about head injuries and how serious they can be.

"There is often a period following the type of injury Rees suffered where the person seems to be perfectly well. This is what happened with Rees, and he only started to deteriorate some hours after the initial injury. We were shocked that just when we thought Rees had recovered he had a seizure and was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery."