Junior Doctor Failed To Diagnose Brain Haemorrhage And Sent Woman ‘Home To Die’

Lawyer Demands Urgent Review After Coroner Records Narrative Verdict After Death Of Wolverhampton Mum Of Four

05.07.2011

The devastated family of a Black Country woman who collapsed and died following a massive brain haemorrhage just 16 days after being sent home from New Cross hospital, heard during an inquest that a junior doctor had missed vital warning signs and there were no guidelines to assist doctors with diagnosing the symptoms of brain haemorrhage in the Accident and Emergency department.

Mum of four, Caryl Ann Hinton, (48), from Wolverhampton, suffered a fatal bleed to the brain on 13th June 2010.

Following today’s narrative verdict by HM Coroner for Wolverhampton, Mr R J Allen, a medical lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, who is representing the family, is calling for an urgent hospital review to investigate why doctors ignored clear warning signs and sent Ms Hinton home without a proper examination or CT scan.

The inquest heard that on 28th May, Ms Hinton had suffered a sudden episode of blindness and deafness whilst out shopping with her grandson. After taking him home she went to New Cross Hospital’s A&E department complaining of a sharp pain in the back of her head, a stiff neck and pins and needles in her fingers.

By this point she had also suffered bladder incontinence. However, following a brief examination a junior doctor suggested she was simply suffering from a strained neck muscle and anxiety problems and Ms Hinton was sent home and advised to take painkillers.

Following Ms Hinton’s collapse at home on 13th June 2010, she was rushed by ambulance to New Cross Hospital. On this occasion a CT scan was carried out and this showed a massive bleed in the brain. Sadly Ms Hinton never regained consciousness and she was pronounced dead at 6.35pm that same day.

Jennifer Emerson, a medical law specialist with Irwin Mitchell solicitors, who represents the family, explained: “This is a truly shocking case. Caryl Hinton’s care at New Cross Hospital raises a number of urgent questions. She went to hospital with symptoms which should have alerted doctors to the fact that her condition was potentially very serious and merited urgent investigation.

“At the time of Caryl’s death there were no written guidelines about the red flag symptoms of brain haemorrhage or requesting CT scans available in the Accident and Emergency Department at New Cross hospital. More than a year after her death there are still no such written guidelines.

“The hospital has reassured us that they will have written guidelines in place within one month to ensure that junior doctors are familiar with the warning signs of brain haemorrhage in order to prevent a future tragedy such as this. The family are keen to see those written guidelines implemented and training provided to Accident and Emergency doctors and we have asked the Trust to confirm they are in place in one month’s time.”

Following today’s inquest, the family has confirmed that it intends to pursue a legal action against the Trust.

Ms Hinton leaves behind three sons, a daughter, Kelly (24) as well as one grandchild.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Kelly Thompson commented: “Our entire family has been devastated by what has happened. My Mum should not have died like this. She lived for her family and would do anything for us.  It was typical of her that on the day she went to hospital her first thought was to get her grandson home safely before worrying about herself.

 “My Mum and I were very close, she was my best friend and I don’t think I will ever come to terms with the way she died.

“It would have been a simple step to put written guidelines and training in place for doctors and it could have prevented my mum’s death. I just hope the Trust will now look at what went wrong and take action to make sure a tragedy like this doesn’t happen to another family.”

If you or a loved one have received negligent medical care from your GP you could be entitled to claim compensation. Visit our GP Negligence Claims page for more information.