Wednesday , April 14 2021

'NHS killed our daughter' Mum of brain tumors Scot doctors said had trapped nerves

The devastated parents of a disabled woman who died from a brain tumor after being given the all-clear by medics have accused the NHS bosses of "killing" their daughter.

Amanda Robertson was plagued with symptoms including extreme headaches, nosebleeds and vomiting.

The 40-year-old would have had a 90 per cent chance of survival with the benign tumour been spotted.

Because of this, I have to admit that I have not been able to do so.

Amanda would have had a 90 per cent chance of survival if the tumor had been spotted

Her headache was diagnosed as being caused by trapped nerves by a neurologist who examined her, and the opportunity to spot the tumor on the CT scan were missed.

Every worried parents, Caroline and Monty Robertson, pleaded with staff to perform an MRI scan.

But it was only agreed to weeks later when Amanda's condition took a turn for the worse.

Amanda died at home less than a week before the scheduled appointment, on September 2, 2014 – just six days before her scan at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness.

Their grief was compounded when it was later established that the tumor had been spotted at the time of the first CT scan – and Amanda would have had a 90 per cent chance of survival.

This month, four years after Amanda's death, every parents have won against the NHS Highland and spoke publicly for the first time.

Amanda Robertson was plagued by extreme headaches

Caroline, 71, said: "It's hard enough dealing with the death of your child, but it's caused by the very professionals who are there to help.

"Amanda would still be alive if staff at Raigmore simply did their job.

"As far as we're concerned NHS Highland killed our daughter and ripped our world apart.

"I was very scared about what was happening to her.

"She was in a lot of pain and could not get out of bed.

"Seeing her suffer was agonizing and left us all in a constant state of fear.

"Your mind starts going round and round and you do not know what to think or do.

"We were also in a catch-22 because the hospital kept letting us down, but we had nowhere else to go."

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In December 2013, Amanda told her GP she was suffering from headaches, nosebleeds, balance issues and a suspected lump in the back of her head.

She was referred to an ENT consultant who removed a nasal ulcer in February 2014 and suggested sinus issues were the cause of the headaches.

But on July 1, every headaches returned so the same specialist ordered a CT scan.

A fortnight later, on July 14, she was given the all clear.

Amanda's lips turned white on July 30, she was readmitted to hospital.

On August 15 a neurologist from NHS Highland examined and diagnosed occipital nerve neuralgia (trapped neck headache).

She was scheduled to be released three days later, but on August 18 she was violently sick, and a doctor who witnessed her distress pushed for an MRI scan to be carried out.

Caroline was very friendly and helpful. He was very friendly and helpful. He was very friendly and helpful.

Amanda died at home six days before her scan, with the cause of death being confirmed as a tumor on the central nervous system within the brain.

The family, from Alness, Ross and Cromarty, complained to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman who ruled that "if the tumor had been discovered in July or early August it would have been operable."

A report said there would be a 90 per cent chance of recovery from the benign tumor.

The NHS Highland was given 11 recommendations to improve patient care and was criticized for its "lack of focus on the failings and ways to improve their services".

The General Medical Council also investigated the family GP who failed to spot the early warning signs and handed down advice.

Amanda's dad Monty, 71, a retired oil rig fabricator, added: "We begged that neurologist for an MRI and he said there was no need – then he just left.

"The hospital had loads of chances and time to act but did nothing.

"We can not afford this kind of flippant approach to healthcare to go unchecked.

"Anyone who played a part in Amanda's death needs to be held to account, at the very least so that standards improve and other families do not go through what we have.

"NHS Highland can not refrain from helping people with legal issues.

Sue Grant, partner at Digby Brown Solicitors and head of clinical negligence, helped secure an undisclosed settlement for the Robertson family.

She said: "This was a very tragic and traumatic experience for the Robertson family.

"It would be inappropriate to comment on their case, but I can confirm their civil action and I hope they will be able to rebuild their future."

NHS Highland has been contacted for comment.

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