Case Study: Failure to Diagnose Sub-Arachnoid Haemorrhage

Compensation: £150,000

Ann-Marie, 54 years old, Stoke

JMW obtained £150,000 compensation for a man who was left psychologically damaged after witnessing his wife's death after medical professionals continually misdiagnosed her.

Ann-Marie was sitting quietly at home when she developed a sudden pain of increasing severity in her head and neck. She recognised it as being quite different from a normal headache, although she had no visual disturbance or neck stiffness.

Diagnosis missed by A&E and GP

She attended A&E where a raised blood pressure was noted and the diagnosis of simple headache made. Over the next six days her symptoms remained unchanged and during that time she was seen on three occasions by her own GP and the 'out-of-hours' GP service when hypertension and back pain were diagnosed. She also attended A&E for a second time (Day Six) when some neck stiffness was noted and a diagnosis of muscular neck pain made. No CT scan or lumbar puncture was performed.

Tragic death eight days later

Eight days after the start of her symptoms Ann-Marie suddenly collapsed whilst in the company of her husband. When they arrived at hospital Ann-Marie was unresponsive. A CT scan revealed a massive subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) and she died the following day.

The claim

JMW Solicitors alleged that had the correct diagnosis been made on either Day one or Day six when Ann-Marie attended A&E, she would have been referred for neurosurgery, and in all likelihood made a full recovery.

The Trust admitted that although Ann-Marie did not have the classical features of SAH, consideration should have been given to the possibility of this diagnosis at her first attendance at A&E given her age and the history of the onset of the headache.

The Trust admitted that at day six Ann Marie should have had a CT scan and possibly a lumbar puncture.

Thomas, Ann-Marie’s husband pursued a claim in his own right for compensation, having developed a very severe psychiatric injury as a result of witnessing the sudden collapse and death of his wife.


Thomas received £150,000 compensation. Of the total amount, £15,000 was for his own pain, suffering and loss of amenity.

If you feel you have a claim for a similar misdiagnosis case, contact JMW today either by our online enquiry form or by telephone on 0800 054 6512 and let us help you get the compensation you deserve.

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