A seriously sick man was sent home by medics on TEN separate occasions before a CT scan revealed a devastating bleed on the brain which left him brain damaged.
Alex Rea was sent home EIGHT times by doctors at his GP surgery.
He was then discharged TWICE from A&E during a two-month period as he suffered from continuous headaches and sickness.
Mr Rea had suffered a head injury after being attacked by a man after getting into a row with man at a restaurant.
Doctors initially dismissed his problems as concussion and a possible ear infection.
Now Mr Rea, who was previously a finance manager at a motor trade business, has been left with permanent damage to his sight, having lost a third of his vision, and he is unable to return to work.
He has won £675,000 in damages against his GP surgery, Dr Cakebread & Partners and East and North Herts., NHS Trust, which runs Lister Hospital.
Mr Rea’s nightmare began when he went to Lister Hospital in Stevenage, Herts., the afternoon after his attack where he was sent home believing to be concussed.
He was then continually dismissed by doctors at his GP surgery and on a second visit to A&E and he couldn’t understand why nobody would listen to him.
Mr Rea described his desperation.
He said: “I couldn’t understand why nobody would listen to me and why they were not taking me seriously.
“By the end I was vomiting almost all day, every day and my sight and balance was getting worse and worse.
“I kept going back and they’d just give me pain-killers and antibiotics, which was ridiculous given I was always being sick.
“I was just spending all day in bed and, at times, I was too ill to move, yet when I did get to the doctors I got no answers.”
Mr Rea, who was 45 at the time, added: “In the end I was getting paranoid and I started to think there must be some sort of conspiracy going on and that they were deliberately doing it and trying to kill me.
“I just couldn’t understand it.”
Eventually, Mr Rea was referred for a CT scan after visiting an out-of-hours surgery because his own GP was closed.
He was immediately sent to Bedford Hospital where a CT scan showed bleeding on the brain.
This was removed at Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge the following day after a hole was drilled into his skull and the clot was drained.
It was this twist of fate that Mr Rea believes saved his life.
“I really believe that my GPs being closed that day saved my life. I felt so bad that I thought I was going to die.
“I rang the telephone number for my GPs and it said it was closed with it being a Sunday. It advised me to visit an out-of-hours GP.
“I went to the nearest one and I only just made it.”
Mr Rea described the moment he stumbled into the surgery and said he felt like he was on the verge of collapsing.
He said: “I was carrying a bowl with me because I felt like I was going to be sick. I was on the verge of collapsing on the spot as I couldn’t balance and was struggling to see.
“When I walked in someone took one look at me and said, ‘don’t even sit down’. I was sent straight to Bedford Hospital.”
The effects of the negligence are felt keenly by Mr Rea who is now registered as partially sighted and to read all correspondence on an iPad to enable him to magnify the text.
He was even forced to go homeless for a period after he was unable to find work, having a number of probationary periods with employers fail to materialise into full-term positions.
Mr Rea said: “I tried to go back to work just wasn’t able to focus on the jobs and do them well enough because of my brain injury and sight.
“I can’t take information in and cope. I tried four or five jobs but never got past the trial period.
“It has been really tough as my life has fallen apart in many ways.
“I now live on my own in a housing association property and if it wasn’t for the successful compensation claim I’d have nothing.
“Hopefully I can use my money to see my young son more, as he lives away from me at the minute.”
Part of Mr Rea’s legal claim, that was handled by specialist claims firm, Hudgell Solicitors, was that had the 52-year-old been sent for scans by the third time he visited his GP, treatment may have been able to return his sight to normal.
It was also claimed that had he been referred for scans on any of his subsequent visits, his sight would have been better than it currently is.
Negligence was admitted on six of the eight visits to Dr Cakebread & Partners and for the second visit for to Lister Hospital.
Medical negligence expert at Hudgell Solicitors, Gary Warriner, said it was “scandalous” treatment.
Mr Warriner said: “The doctors at this GP surgery and Lister Hospital badly let down Mr Rea through not only a failure to be thorough in their investigations of his symptoms and the potential causes of his headaches, dizziness and sickness, but also through their complete failure to take into consideration the circumstances of his illness starting.
“It is truly scandalous that a patient can keep returning and highlighting red flag signs of a serious head injury, to effectively be completely ignored by doctors.
“How can a GP surgery not take further action after eight separate visits? What more does a patient have to do?
“When a patient is persistently suffering from headaches and dizziness, with the problem also effecting their eyes, alarm bells should be ringing.
“In this case Mr Rea’s symptoms were actually worsening over a sustained period of time.
“Mr Rea says he felt it was a conspiracy, but it was either an appalling lack of care or
“Either way it has resulted in him being left with injuries which will impact on his quality of life for the rest of his life.”
Having been discharged by Lister Hospital A&E on the night of his attack, Mr Rea was seen by six different doctors at Dr Cakebread & Partners.
Four of those doctors, Dr Stephen Cakebread, Dr Shiv Shekaran, Dr Sarah Griffith and Dr Roy Boodhun were named as being negligent in their treatment as part of the claim.