A REDDITCH mum with a blood clot in her brain has been left severely disabled – after she was initially diagnosed with a migraine.
Secondary school teacher Ria Doak was taken by ambulance to Worcestershire Royal Hospital in Worcester after her husband found her screaming in pain in the early hours of the morning in December 2019.
A CT scan was reported as showing no abnormality, said the family. Doctors believed she had hemiplegic migraine, a type of migraine which can cause temporary weakness on one side of the body.
The scan was later reviewed by a different clinician who recognised a partially blocked artery – a sign of a stroke.
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.
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.
The health trust has since apologised for the ‘failings’. Ria’s legal team at Irwin Mitchell are working with the trust to reach a settlement which fund the specialist support Ria needs.
Jeff said: “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.
“I just hope that by speaking out improvements in care can be made so others don’t have to suffer like our family.”
Ria has had to give up her teaching career as head of geography and is dependent on others for all aspects of her care.
She has limited mobility and requires a wheelchair.
Emma Rush, specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “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.”
Dr Christine Blanshard, chief medical officer at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust which runs the Royal Worcestershire, said: “We are very sorry for the failings in Ms Doak’s care and are pleased that a resolution of the liability issues was able to be reached.
“We are working closely with her legal representatives to ensure a settlement is reached that will mean Ms Doak’s needs are met now and in the future.”