Husband Asks Medical Negligence Lawyers To Investigate After Wife Suffers Major Stroke
A mum with a blood clot in her brain has been left severely disabled after she was diagnosed with a migraine.
Ria Doak was taken by ambulance to Worcester Hospital after her husband found her screaming in pain, frothing at the mouth and incoherent in the early hours of the morning.
A CT scan was reported as showing no abnormality. It was later reviewed by a different clinician who recognised a partially blocked artery – a sign of a stroke.
Ria’s legal team at Irwin Mitchell said that instead of being transferred to a specialist hospital for surgery, the then 40-year-old, who was unresponsive and had symptoms including weakness in her left side, headache and slurred speech, remained in hospital.
Doctors believed Ria had a rare migraine based on scan results information
Based on the initial results of the CT scan they were given, doctors believed she had hemiplegic migraine, a rare type of migraine which can cause temporary weakness on one side of the body.
She was admitted to intensive care on the lunchtime of the day after she was admitted to hospital. A specialist stroke team review shortly afterwards confirmed Ria had suffered a major stroke as a result of the artery being blocked. Her family were told to prepare for the worst.
She spent more than a month in hospital and nearly five months in a specialist rehabilitation unit before returning home to her husband, Jeff, and their 14-year-old daughter Mya, who was aged 10 at the time, in Redditch.
Husband Jeff asks lawyers to investigate after Ria suffers major stroke
Following her stroke Jeff, aged 61, instructed expert medical negligence lawyers art Irwin Mitchell to investigate Ria’s care under Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust and help him access the specialist rehabilitation, support and therapies she’s expected to require for the rest of her life.
Ria, now aged 44, and Jeff are now using World Stroke Day to speak for the first time about the ‘devastating’ impact the care issues have had on their family. They are joining Ria’s legal team at Irwin Mitchell in calling for lessons to be learned.
Legal team working with Hospital Trust to fund specialist support former teacher Ria requires
Irwin Mitchell is now working with the Trust to reach a settlement which will fund the specialist support Ria requires.
Ria, who had to give up her teaching career as head of geography at a local secondary school, is dependent on others for all aspects of her care. She has limited mobility and requires a wheelchair. Ria needs equipment to transfer her out of bed, she needs be constantly supervised and has carers visit four times a day.
Emma Rush is the specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing the family.
Expert Opinion“Ria suffered catastrophic injuries as a result of her major stroke which we believe would have been avoided if the results of the initial CT scan had been correctly interpreted.
“We believe that instead of being transferred for specialist surgery on the same day, Ria did not receive the care she should have done leading to her being left severely disabled.
“The last few years and trying to come to terms with how life has changed for not only Ria, but her family, has been incredibly difficult.
“While nothing can make up for what’s happened we’re pleased that we’ve at least been able to provide the family with the answers they deserve.
“We’re now working with the Hospital Trust to reach a settlement which will ensure Ria receives the specialist care, support and therapies she will require for the rest of her life.
“In the meantime Ria’s story vividly highlights the devastating consequences of stroke. As we join Ria and Jeff in supporting World Stroke Day we call on the Hospital Trust to ensure it learns lessons from the care issues Ria experienced to improve patient safety for others.” Emma Rush
Stroke: Ria Doak's story
Just before 5am on 5 December, 2019, Jeff called an ambulance after finding her screaming in pain and frothing at the mouth.
After arriving at Worcester Hospital at around 6.25am she was assessed. A CT scan took place at around 7.45am. The medic who analysed the scan said there was nothing of significance on the scan.
She was diagnosed with a hemiplegic migraine.
Ria was transferred to a ward the following morning. During observations she was noted to be unresponsive and had difficulty speaking.
After concerns were raised about Ria being able to breathe, she was transferred to intensive care at around 12.30pm. She was reviewed by the stroke team. An MRI scan that afternoon confirmed she had suffered a major stroke.
She was transferred to intensive care with Jeff being told to prepare for the worst. Another clinician reviewed the initial CT scan Ria underwent, finding it showed evidence of a blood clot in an artery in her brain.
Ria was transferred to a neurorehabilitation centre on 20 January, 2020, and allowed home on 6 May, 2020.
Jeff reveals impact of how family has changed as he supports World Stroke Day
Jeff said: “Before Ria’s stroke we really enjoyed life as a family. We enjoyed holidays, days out; all of the things that families do and take for granted.
“Ria was a fun and loving person. She was independent and outgoing and had many friends. Seeing her struggle day after day is heart-breaking.
“If we do anything it all has to be planned. Even things such as going out for meals or meeting friends has to be planned in advance to ensure everything is suitable for Ria. We can’t just do something spontaneously.
“It’s almost impossible to find the words to describe the person Ria was compared to how she is now. Ria played such an active role in family life, especially helping Mya with things such as her school work and school events, but she can’t do that now.
“Despite everything we’re so proud of the determination Ria shows every day but even more than three years on, it remains incredibly upsetting to think how Ria’s life has been devastated and she’ll never be the same person again.
“My focus now is on ensuring Ria can receive the best support she can to life the best life possible.
“I just hope that by speaking out improvements in care can be made so others don’t have to suffer like our family. If we can help another family by raising awareness of what a stroke can do and what to look out for, then at least some good can come out of this terrible situation.”
World Stroke Day is on Sunday, 29 October.
Find out more about our expertise in supporting patients and loved ones affected by stroke at our dedicated stroke claims section. Alternatively, to speak to an expert contact us or call 0370 1500 100.