Bexhill mum suffered stroke after NHS trust’s test result failings

A Bexhill mother-of-two suffered a devastating stroke after experts incorrectly interpreted test results, according to her family’s lawyers.

Heather Rollings with her family
Heather Rollings with her family

Heather Rollings, 62, from Bexhill, underwent a CT angiogram at Conquest Hospital in April 2007 after suffering an extensive subarachnoid haemorrhage. Doctors treating her considered she was making a gradual and partial recovery from her initial stroke. A radiologist concluded there was no evidence of an aneurysm on the CT angiogram and so no further treatment was provided.

The former nurse had suffered some impairments following the initial stroke, but made good progress with her recovery.

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She did not return to work but after rehabilitation and with support from her family she was living at home with her husband. However, her family were then left devastated when she went on to suffer another, more severe stroke in 2015 which left her immobile, with limited speech and requiring 24-hour care in a nursing home.

Heather Rollings before 2007

Following the second stroke, her family instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate her care, with the legal experts concluding there had been a failure to identify and treat an aneurysm after the stroke in 2007 which had been clearly visible on the CT angiogram conducted at Conquest Hospital.

The East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust admitted the aneurysm was missed on the April 2007 CT and better care should have been provided which could have prevented the second stroke, said Irwin Mitchell.

Heather’s husband Quentin 55, said: “When Heather went through the first stroke and made a reasonably good recovery we hoped that she would never face anything like that ever again. When the second happened we were all just completely devastated.

“The circumstances of what has happened are very hard to accept and I just hope that taking this action will mean that the problems seen in Heather’s case are never repeated. I am also keen to get Heather’s life back on track with proper care and rehabilitation.

“I hope Heather’s case will enable the public to learn about and understand the devastating consequences a brain injury can have on an individual and their family.”

The East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust has apologised to Ms Rollings and her family.

In a statement, the trust said: “The trust wishes to convey its sincere apologies that the care provided to Ms Rollings in 2007 fell below the standard that the trust strives for.

“Those involved in Ms Rollings’ care have expressed their deep regret for the shortcomings which were identified during the course of the investigation, and the devastating consequences this has had for Ms Rollings and her family.

“We are now working with our legal representatives to achieve a settlement which will ensure that Ms Rollings’ lifetime needs are met.

“Following this incident, the trust has continued to work very hard to improve the quality of stroke services.

“In 2013 the trust’s stroke services were consolidated at Eastbourne District General Hospital, helping to further improve the care we provide and outcomes for patients.Since then, the service has been highlighted in a Stroke Association report as being one of the best stroke services in the country in terms of speed of scanning a suspected stroke and admission to a stroke unity.”

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