After three misdiagnoses by doctors left 14-year-old Thalia Elliott ‘an inch from death’, according to surgeons who operated on a large abscess close to her brain stem, Inez Brown of Medical Accident Group has called for thorough investigations into patients’ symptoms, especially if they escalate.
After Thalia, who lives in Wales began to feel ill and became lethargic, her parents took her to the out of hours doctor at Prince Charles Hospital, in Merthyr Tydfil, who diagnosed her with a water infection and prescribed antibiotics.
Her condition got worse and she began to feel ‘unbearable sickness’. Her family thought she may have food poisoning and took her to their own GP, who prescribed her sickness and hydration medication.
When her symptoms did not improve, she went again to the out of hours doctor, but she was discharged. She became increasingly ill, and that night her mother found her on the floor having a seizure.
An ambulance was called and took her straight to the Prince Charles Hospital. Doctors initially struggled to find what was causing these symptoms, but alarm bells started ringing when a nurse discovered a foul-smelling clear liquid beginning to drip out of Thalia’s nose.
She had an MRI scan and was put on a life support machine – the MRI scan results showed that she had a massive abscess on the frontal left lobe of her brain that was putting pressure on her brain and causing the symptoms.
Cranial surgery saved her life
She was transferred to University Hospital of Wales where she had two operations to remove part of her skull and drain the abscess. Surgeons commented that there was a window of minutes before the abscess would have been touching Thalia’s brain stem, and that she was ‘almost literally an inch away from death’.
Medical professionals believe that the abscess may have been caused by an infection which started within Thalia’s sinuses. Surgeons said that they had no idea how she was still alive.
Although the surgery saved her, she suffered two strokes as a result – she is now unable to walk, is wheelchair bound and has spent six months in hospital. She is also profoundly deaf because of the abscess.
Thalia was discharged from hospital three weeks ago, after almost seven months of treatment. She is receiving a course of intensive physiotherapy in an attempt to improve her mobility.
Inez Brown, partner and Head of Clinical Negligence with Medical Accident Group, commented: “This is a very sad case involving a young teenager. Cases like this emphasise that full investigations into patients’ symptoms need to be carried out, particularly when patients are experiencing continuing or worsening symptoms.”
As a highly experienced firm with expert teams based in Birmingham and Worcester, we have secured awards for many clients following negligent medical treatment.
If you or a member of your family have suffered from poor medical treatment, Medical Accident Group can help. If you believe you have a claim, talk to our team of highly-experienced solicitors, who will guide you through the process of making a claim. Call us now on 0800 050 1668.