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Missed TIA Leads To Severe Stroke

Missed TIA Leads To Severe Stroke

Geraint presented to his GP with the characteristic symptoms of a TIA. Unfortunately the doctor failed to diagnose the problem and Geraint subsequently suffered a massive stroke.

Following an accident at work, Geraint was due to have decompression surgery on his back. He had a slipped disc and this was pressing upon the nerves in the lower back, causing him pain and numbness in his leg.

However, the operation was delayed because, shortly after the accident, Geraint was diagnosed with high blood pressure. It was not safe to perform the procedure until the problem was under control, so he was quickly started on medication.

Geraint regularly attended his GP surgery as it was proving difficult to bring his blood pressure down. During one such visit, Geraint reported blurred vision, tingling in his left arm and hand, and some numbness in the fingers of both his hands. His GP decided these symptoms were being caused by the blood pressure medication and so prescribed an alternative drug. It later became apparent that this was a wrong diagnosis and he had in fact suffered a mini-stroke.

One month later Geraint's blood pressure was at an acceptable level and the back operation was performed. The surgery went well and he was returned to the ward in the evening. The next morning, however, Geraint's wife rang his mobile but couldn't get any answer. Eventually she got through to the hospital when she was told Geraint had suffered a massive stroke in the night.

She rushed to the hospital, at which point Geraint was undergoing an angioplasty. She was told that due to the size of the stroke her husband would be lucky to survive 24 hours, and even if he did he could be in a vegetative state. Thankfully this prediction did not come true as the procedure was a success. Geraint was discharged a month later.

Even so, he continues to suffer life-changing side effects. It took a long time until he could speak, he cannot move his left arm and he has no short term memory. Geraint cannot remember to do anything unless his wife reminds him, including simple tasks such as showering.

He does not sleep well, is unable to drive and could not return to work. Geraint is tired most of the time and has completely lost his confidence. He will no longer leave the house on his own and hates talking to new people. This has made him very depressed and he frequently wishes he had not recovered from the stroke.

All this could have been avoided had Geraint's GP realised that he had suffered a transient ischaemic attack (TIA), otherwise known as a mini-stroke. Blurred vision, tingling in his left arm and hand and numbness in the fingers are all indicative of a TIA, and Geraint was at high risk of such a complication.

Had the GP realised this when Geraint presented with these symptoms, he would have been referred to a neurologist and a scan performed. This would have revealed a blocked carotid artery and treatment would have been provided, preventing a stroke from occurring.

We helped Geraint make a claim for the GP's failure to diagnose his TIA and he was awarded in excess of £350,000 compensation.

(Details which might identify our client have been changed.)

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