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Mother struck down in prime by stroke after hospital sends her home
A father-of-two has spoken of the need for fast action and good care for stroke sufferers after his wife had her life devastated by the condition.
Ruth Stanton was just 30 when she was struck down by a stroke, which has left her unable to work, with difficulties reading and writing and with significant short-term memory problems.
Her husband Kerry believes that with better care from hospital doctors, who discharged her on a Friday night despite her having suffered mini-strokes, she would not have gone on to suffer a major stroke that has left her debilitated.
The couple, who lived in Linnet Drive, Kidderminster, Worcestershire, at the time but have since moved to Bognor, challenged the care provided to Ruth by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust with the help of the specialist medical negligence team at law firm JMW. The trust has now agreed to pay Ruth a six-figure compensation settlement to help her family to cope with her disabilities.
Eddie Jones, head of medical negligence at JMW, commented on the tragic case. He said: “This is an absolutely tragic case of a young woman with a loving family who was struck down in her prime. Sadly it is not the only case we have seen where the quality of stroke care has been called into question.
“Ruth’s situation serves to illustrate the crushing consequences a stroke can have on lives and that even people who outwardly seem fit and healthy can be affected. The quality of care provided to sufferers can mean the difference between a full recovery and permanent disability so it is absolutely vital that as well as pushing the signs of stroke among the general public, the NHS is also making sure its healthcare staff are able to provide fast diagnosis and treatment.”
Mr Stanton, a 47-year-old executive chef, commented: “Ruth changed from a happy, vibrant, independent woman to a shadow of her former self and our lives will never be the same again. Ruth is a former grade A student but now even reading is a struggle. Her personality has also changed dramatically. She suffers from depression and has talked numerous times of not wanting to be here anymore.
“Ruth’s stroke has had a catastrophic impact and has robbed us of so many things. However we believe if the hospital had given her aspirin and monitored her effectively rather than sending her home on a Friday evening it would have been avoided. This was backed up by the opinion of a medical expert involved in our case.
“While the NHS is currently campaigning for people to act fast on the first signs of stroke, in our case family members did recognise that Ruth was in danger but she was failed by the system. The care stroke sufferers receive can be a postcode lottery and outcomes for patients can vary widely. While it is too late for Ruth we hope that by highlighting her case we can show why good care across the board is so crucial.”
In 2006, Ruth and Kerry, who have two children Caelan, 11, and Safiya, seven, were just an ordinary couple who were building a future together. They enjoyed travelling and Ruth, who until her stroke was employed by a building society, was very active. A keen horse rider she visited the gym two or three times a week.
However on 15 November, while visiting her mother, Ruth had a mini stroke, with symptoms including slurred speech, and was taken to her mother’s GP. The doctor made Ruth an appointment with her own GP for later that day.
Ruth was told she would need a blood test the following day. An appointment was made and while she was waiting in the waiting room, Ruth suffered another mini stroke. Kerry was contacted to collect Ruth and take her to Worcester Hospital.
After being admitted to Worcestershire Royal Hospital on 16 November, Ruth underwent a CT scan and an MRI scan the following day. She was not given a diagnosis and was told to go home later that evening on the 17th. Ruth returned home and feeling exhausted went to bed. During the night she suffered a major stroke and Kerry found her slumped out of their bed on the floor and unable to speak.
It later transpired that Ruth had a rare underlying condition called Takayasu’s arteritis which makes her more susceptible to strokes. However a medical expert involved in her case stated that if she had been given aspirin by the hospital she would not have gone on to have a major stroke on the evening of the 17 and would not have suffered permanent brain damage.
After being diagnosed with Takayasu’s arteritis Ruth was prescribed aspirin on an on-going basis and has not suffered another stroke since.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Kelly Livesey on the details below:
D. 0161 828 1868
Note to Editors
JMW Solicitors LLP is a leading Manchester law firm and offers a broad range of legal services to both commercial and private clients.
JMW’s Clinical Negligence team is headed up by leading lawyer, Eddie Jones.