Mother died after doc­tors di­ag­nosed menin­gi­tis as mi­graine

Glamorgan Gazette - - Your Views - ROD MINCHIN news­desk@waleson­line.co.uk

A MOTHER of five died after doc­tors di­ag­nosed TB menin­gi­tis as a com­mon mi­graine.

Lissa Beechey, 39, was left bedrid­den by tired­ness and crip­pling headaches and with eyes so sen­si­tive she had to wear sun­glasses to block out the light.

De­spite an ur­gent re­fer­ral from her GP query­ing menin­gi­tis, doc­tors at the Princess of Wales Hospi­tal in Brid­gend di­ag­nosed a mi­graine and sent her home with parac­eta­mol.

She was ad­mit­ted 10 days later and trans­ferred to neu­rol­o­gists at the Univer­sity Hospi­tal of Wales in Cardiff, but died.

Hus­band Si­mon Aber­stone, 49, who fell in love with Lissa after a whirl­wind hol­i­day romance, said: “I’m still so an­gry that this was al­lowed to hap­pen.

“You don’t rule out TB un­til you’ve tested for it and if just one doc­tor had fol­lowed the cor­rect pro­ce­dures and given her the right med­i­ca­tion then Lissa would still be here.”

Tu­ber­cu­lo­sis menin­gi­tis – the symp­toms of which in­clude fa­tigue, headaches, neck pain and dis­like of bright lights – af­fects just 150 to 200 peo­ple in the UK each year.

Mr Aber­stone said his wife showed all the signs when she was ini­tially seen at the Princess of Wales’ med­i­cal assess­ment unit on Septem­ber 10, 2015.

She was dis­charged but 10 days later re­turned to A&E with wors­en­ing symp­toms and was ad­mit­ted in a con­fused and dis­ori­en­tated state.

After re­quest­ing her X-ray re­sults, taken three months ear­lier for an un­re­lated back prob­lem, doc­tors ex­cluded TB menin­gi­tis again de­spite the shad­ows on her lungs.

Due to Ms Beechey’s de­te­ri­o­rat­ing con­di­tion, she was trans­ferred to the Univer­sity Hospi­tal of Wales where she died on Oc­to­ber 1.

Mr Aber­stone, from Brid­gend, who works as a con­sul­tant in the con­struc­tion in­dus­try, said he was still strug­gling to come to terms with her death but tries to stay strong for their chil­dren, one aged eight and twins aged 12. She also had two older chil­dren from a pre­vi­ous re­la­tion­ship.

Solic­i­tors act­ing for Mr Aber­stone said Abertawe Bro Mor­gan­nwg Univer­sity Health Board reached an undis­closed out-of­court set­tle­ment.

Mr Aber­stone added: “Lissa used to bring every­one to­gether and it was one of the things I loved most about her. She had time for every­one, es­pe­cially when they needed her help. We used to call her the Mother Teresa of Brid­gend.

“Even I didn’t re­alise how many peo­ple’s lives she touched un­til her fu­neral. It was in­cred­i­ble – there wasn’t even stand­ing room.

“She was just a spe­cial per­son and I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. It’s hard to think of all the mile­stones she’ll miss but I’m just do­ing my best to make sure the kids are looked after. I don’t think I’ve al­lowed my­self time to grieve.

“They haven’t been out of my sight for the last two years. It’s hard but they are what’s kept me strong and you have to try and find a way through it for them.”

The fam­ily’s lawyer Kelly Lloyd-Davies, from Slater & Gor­don, said: “The heart­break­ing reality is that there were chances to save Lissa’s life but pro­ce­dures weren’t fol­lowed and as a re­sult these were missed. While noth­ing can bring her back, lessons must be learned to pre­vent mis­takes like this from hap­pen­ing again be­fore any more lives are need­lessly lost.”

A spokesman for the Abertawe Bro Mor­gan­nwg Univer­sity Health Board said: “We would once more of­fer our sin­cere con­do­lences to Ms Beechey’s fam­ily for their sad loss and apol­o­gise for the short­com­ings in her care.

“We can as­sure Mr Aber­stone we took im­me­di­ate ac­tion such as in­creased staffing, ad­di­tional train­ing and aware­ness-rais­ing.

“Ad­di­tion­ally, a sys­tem was put in place to en­sure all in­ves­ti­ga­tions are fol­lowed up promptly.

“Although these mea­sures have led to im­prove­ments, we are con­tin­u­ing to closely mon­i­tor the sit­u­a­tion and will take any ad­di­tional ac­tion re­quired to en­sure the im­prove­ments are main­tained.”

SLATER AND GOR­DON

Mother-of-five Lissa Beechey with her hus­band Si­mon Aber­stone

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