Legal Action following failure to diagnose a brain tumour.
Currently valued in excess of £350,000.
The client has suffered from Fibromyalgia since she was aged 19 and a diagnosis of this was confirmed in August 2009. The Fibromyalgia affects both her limbs mainly on her left side and she also suffers with irritable bowel syndrome.
In June 2003, the client was referred by her GP to the Neurology department at Princess Alexandra Hospital as she had developed a tremor in her right arm. Having been examined, the neurologist advised that they were confident her tremor was psychogenic in nature and attributed her symptoms to a conversion syndrome. They confirmed this diagnosis to the client in clinic and writing to her GP and recommended that no follow up was required.
On 22 January and 17 March 2010, the client visited her GP regarding issues with pain and mobility. In January 2010 she reported she was suffering from pain in her limbs, back and had also developed discolouration in her left leg. By March 2010 she reported to her GP pain and weakness in her left hand. She had been using a walking trolley for 6 months and was experiencing chronic pain in her neck, shoulder, lower back and left knee. She had paraesthesia in the left leg to a greater extent than her right leg. Her leg left gave way on a daily basis resulting in her regularly collapsing. The GP noted hemiparesis as a potential diagnosis and a possible neurological cause. He appropriately referred her to a neurologist and a psychologist.
On 29 March 2010 the client was seen by a neurologist at West Suffolk Hospital. The Neurologist took account of her symptoms, examined her and found that her gait was antalgic, she could tandem and stand on each leg; that her left leg was painful to move but she had full power. It was noted that she had an abnormality in that she had reduced joint position sense at her left big toe and brisk knee jerks. The neurologist came to the conclusion that there was unlikely to be a neurological illness but arranged for an MRI of her brain and cervical spine.
On 17 May 2010, the neurologist provided the client with the results of the MRI scans. The MRI of the cervical spine was normal. The MRI brain showed a meningioma of 1.4cms in diameter lying to the left of the falx. The neurologist advised that the meningioma was benign and explained that it was found in many people whose brains they scan. They went on to advise that they were confident that it was not responsible for her neurological symptoms.
On 22 May 2011, the client was seen in A&E at West Suffolk Hospital. It was recorded that she had woken at 5am with generalised body shivers and shakes. She had vomited and was experiencing pain and stiffness down the right side of her body, followed by weakness and the sensation of paralysis. On examination her cranial nerve was normal, she had 0/5 power in her right arm and leg with decreased proprioception and sensation to light touch. A CT scan was done which showed no haemorrhage or infarct. The CT scan showed that the meningioma had increased to 1.6cm in size.
On 7 September 2011 the client was seen in clinic with the neurologist who suspected that the recent episode was down to her conversion syndrome. It was recorded that it took 5 days for the numbness to subside and her right side had still not returned to normal. The neurologist advised the client that they doubted that the episode on 22 May 2011 was a stroke and that they would arrange an MRI to be sure. There was no mention of the fact her meningioma had increased in size, no follow up was put in place regarding this.
On 11 June 2014 the client was admitted to West Suffolk Hospital with diarrhoea, sudden onset headache with blurred vision and photophobia in her right eye. A CT scan was planned which showed no bleed but the previously noted meningioma. The CT results recorded ‘there is an intermediate density soft tissue in the parafalcine region in high parietal area towards the left side. This measured around 3 x 2.2cm in size. May represent meningioma but contrast study is essential’. The client was allowed to discharge herself and no follow up was arranged for her despite the recommendation that she was monitored. There was no attempt by the Trust to communicate this information to the client following her discharge and similarly, her GP was not informed.
On 26 May 2018 the client was admitted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital with her reporting a cold sensation to the left side of her face which had developed around 5pm whilst she was driving. It was noted that she had a left facial droop and her speech was slurred. She also complained of her left fingers being cold. A CT brain scan was undertaken which showed a left frontal vertex meningioma with underlying mass effect. A plan was put in place for an MRI and transfer to Addenbrookes hospital.
On 27 May 2018 the client was transferred to Addenbrookes Hospital neurosurgical department. An MRI was carried out which showed a ‘39x31mm enhancing mass’. The surgeon explained to the client that the best option was for her to have surgery given the size of the lesion.
On 29 May 2018 the client underwent an emergency craniotomy and resection of the meningioma. She was reviewed in recovery on the same day and was noted to have right lower limb monoplegia.
On 5 June 2018 she was discharged following a physiotherapy assessment which showed she was able to weight bare on both legs but continued to experience residual weakness in her left leg. She still lacked movement in her lower right leg distally. She was discharged with a plan to have a further MRI scan 4 weeks later.
Following discharge, the client’s facial weakness resolved however, she still had a flaccid lower right leg. On 2 July 2018 she had the MRI scan which recorded expected post-operative changes in the soft tissue of the scalp. There was also a small area of increased signal in the left superior frontal hyrus. There was enhancing soft tissue at the left lateral aspect of the faults but also the right of the superior sagittal sinus suspicious for a residual meningioma. At this point the client was also still suffering from weakness in her right lower leg and numbness in her right lower forearm and hand.
As a result of the delay in diagnosis, the client has been left virtually paralysed down the right side of her body and there is significant weakness down the left side of her body. This matter is ongoing