Mother Suffered A Brain Stem Stroke After A&E Staff Sent Her Home Instead Of Testing For Tumour

Medical Law Experts Working To Secure Care And Rehabilitation Package


The husband of a mother-of-two who suffered a brain stem stroke after hospital staff delayed sending her for tests to diagnose a brain tumour has spoken of his relief after a Judge today (29 April) approved an admission of liability from the NHS Trust, paving the way for a care package to be agreed.

The approval hearing, at the High Court in London, ensures medical law experts at Irwin Mitchell can now work to secure a lifetime care and rehabilitation package for 48-year-old Joyce Cook, who has been left reliant on a wheelchair, requires care and assistance with everyday living, suffers from memory loss, limited vision and is unable to work again suffering the stroke.

Mrs Cook went to the A&E department at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital on 3 July 2009 after suffering from dizziness, an ear infection, nausea and drooping of the mouth. However, she was sent home the same day without undergoing any scans to find the cause of her symptoms.

Instead, five days later the former office administrator collapsed at her home in Basingstoke and after being admitted to hospital, a CT scan revealed a left-sided brain tumour which had been putting pressure on her brain through a build up of fluid causing the previous symptoms.

Mrs Cook was transferred to the Wessex Neurological Centre at Southampton where she underwent successful treatment to shrink the tumour and after three weeks of rehabilitation, she was discharged home.

Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust originally refused to agree an admission of liability, however expert evidence commissioned by Irwin Mitchell found that staff should have referred Mrs Cook for urgent CT or MRI scanning including brain imaging on 3 July as her symptoms were consistent with a brain abnormality.

The evidence found this would have highlighted the tumour and ensured treatment was provided before she collapsed at home .and sustained a brain stem stroke. The stroke would have been avoided through earlier diagnosis of the brain tumour.

Just weeks before the case was due to go to trial, the Trust admitted 90 percent liability for the failures in Mrs Cook’s care and the agreement was approved by Mr Justice King at the High Court today. 

Juanita Cumberland, is a medical law expert at Irwin Mitchell’s London office representing the couple.

Expert Opinion
This is a truly tragic case. Mrs Cook’s life has been completely turned upside down.

“She now needs help with all aspects of her daily care, such as washing and dressing, and is reliant on a wheelchair to get around outside the house.

“Today’s hearing means we can now work with the Trust to agree a fair settlement for Mrs Cook that will provide appropriate single storey accommodation, help from specialist carers and ongoing rehabilitation such as physiotherapy and occupational therapy to ensure she has the best quality of life possible with as much independence as possible.”

Juanita Cumberland, Associate

Husband Michael Cook, a 47-year-old IT Architect, said: “The last five years have been incredibly difficult as we have tried to adapt and come to terms with Joyce’s injury.

“However, today’s hearing means we can now look to the future and gives us peace of mind that Joyce will have access to all the care and rehabilitation she needs for the rest of her life.

“Nothing can turn back the clock but we just hope improvements have been made by the Trust to prevent any other family from going through a similar ordeal.”


Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise relating to medical negligence claims