Tayside NHS Board told to apologise over woman's death

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Tayside NHS Board has been ordered to apologise to the husband of a woman who died after doctors failed to provide appropriate treatment for a suspected brain aneurysm.

The woman, known only as Ms C, was referred to Perth Royal Infirmary by her GP.

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman said, despite her symptoms, a CT scan was not performed

She was sent home, but collapsed weeks later and died in hospital.

Its report states: "Ms C had reported sudden onset of pain in her head and neck with some visual disturbance.

"She was admitted directly to the acute medical unit in the hospital where she was medically assessed by a specialist trainee doctor.

"She was then reviewed by a consultant physician.

"She was subsequently discharged home with the problem felt to be musculoskeletal."

The ombudsman ruled that this diagnosis was "unreasonable" as Ms C had no significant headache history.

A consultant physician advising him said that she should have had a CT scan, and possibly a lumbar puncture on her first admission.

The report said: "Whilst we cannot say that Ms C's life would definitely have been saved if these tests had been carried out, the adviser (consultant physician) has stated that it was probable that Ms C's condition was treatable."

'Action plan'

In addition to issuing an apology, the ombudsman's ordered the health board to ensure patients presenting with headaches are investigated in line with national guidelines.

NHS Tayside medical director Prof Andrew Russell said: "We have been in contact with the family over this tragic event and our thoughts remain with them.

"We will be writing to them again following today's Ombudsman's report.

"We accept the recommendations and have shared them with the appropriate clinical groups to take forward in an action plan.

"As an organisation we take every opportunity to improve and we will ensure we share learning from this across NHS Tayside."

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