Sunderland woman died after doctors failed to spot stroke

Picture of Maureen Rodgers taken in the 1960s
Picture of Maureen Rodgers taken in the 1960s
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A GRANDMOTHER died months after doctors failed to spot she had suffered a serious stroke.

Pensioner Maureen Rodgers was taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital after a fall at her Wearside home.

But a junior doctor failed to correctly diagnose the 75-year-old and she was discharged.

Her condition deteriorated and she was rushed back to hospital by paramedics the next day and finally diagnosed as having had a stroke.

The mum-of-three and grandmother-of-five died just over two months later.

Health chiefs today apologised to Ms Rodgers’s family after admitting liability, and agreed to pay out a four-figure sum as compensation.

Son Gary Roberts, 53, said: “I don’t think there are any mitigating circumstances for the poor levels of treatment my mother received.

“We made it abundantly clear that we believed she had suffered a stroke, and it has emerged that our suspicions were not only correct, but they were supported by the CT scan that was carried out.

“Unfortunately, the examination of this scan was assessed by the hospital staff as demonstrating an old stroke and my mother was sent home without receiving the treatment she desperately needed.” 
 It was in December 2011 while at her Silksworth home that Ms Rodgers, a retired probation officer, is believed to have suffered the stroke.

Gary, who works for Sunderland City Council, said: “My mother had a fall in the bathroom and hit her head and that’s why my brother, Steven, thought she’d had a stroke when he went round.

“We called her GP who told him to stay with her, but it became obvious that things weren’t getting better.”

After calling for an ambulance, paramedics took Ms Rodgers to the Royal where she had a CT scan.

Although the hospital does have a stroke consultant on call 24 hours a day, they were not contacted.

Her family took her home but, as her condition worsened, she was taken back to Sunderland Royal Hospital and immediately admitted on to the stroke ward.

Following a lengthy spell on the ward, Ms Rodgers, also mum to Lesley, 51, was allowed home.

She died at St Benedict’s Hospice on March 8, 2012, with kidney cancer, heart disease and cerebrovascular disease attributed as the causes of death.

Gary added: “She never made a full recovery.

“For the last few months, she was living half a life. She was active and independent before. You just wonder if she had got the right treatment what she would have been like.”

Phillip Thompson, of Thompson and Co Solicitors, which has handled Ms Rodgers’s family’s case, said: “It seems as if most lay people could recognise at least some of the most common stroke indicators, yet here we have medical professionals that failed to spot an acute stroke, even with the benefit of a CT scan that provided supporting evidence.

“The apology received is of little consolation to our client and Mr Roberts feels it is slightly dismissive of some of Mr Roberts’s key concerns about the way his mother was treated.”

A spokeswoman for City Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are committed to openness and honesty in any complaints made by patients or their families and have rigorous and constantly developing systems that enable us to learn lessons from mistakes that do arise and put actions in place to ensure that similar errors are not repea-

“We would like to once again convey our unreserved apologies to the Roberts family for their tragic loss and assure them of our continued determination to monitor and develop our day-to-day routines in the best interests of our patients.”