"I will never know if something could have been done differently to save my mother"

About: East Surrey Hospital / Accident and emergency

(as a relative),

Called an ambulance to my house, as my mother was screaming with pains in her head, and was struggling to breathe.

The ambulance took us to East surrey and after 30 min the Nurse took bloods, and the after another hour the Doctor came and examined my mother, she asked some questions and we explained the symptoms.

She came back after about an hour to say that she had a urine infection, and gave us antibiotics. Said that was why she had a headache. She was discharged about 4 hours after having arrived.

My mother is 84 yrs old, she was staying with me and we were keeping an eye on her.

We got her to bed but she woke up shortly afterwards screaming with the head pain, tried to give her the antibiotic but she was vomiting the tablet back.

I then rang her doctor explaining that East Surrey had discharged her, he sounded shocked and said to get her back there.

I made the decision based on what I had seen to drive her to her own hospital which took another 15 mins in time. It was there that she was given a more detailed examination, a CT scan and was diagnosed with a bleed on the brain.

My mother subsequently spent time in The Hyper Acute Stroke Unit in a deep unconscious state, and has since died - this being the cause. I will never know if something else could have been done had East Surrey picked it up on this earlier.

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Response from Stroke Association, Stroke Association


Our Ref: 149982

Dear Rosskatya

I am deeply sorry to hear that your mother has died following a bleed on the brain. It sounds devastating that you will never know if things could have been different, had East Surrey Hospital acted differently.

From what you have written, it sounds like your mother had a subarachnoid haemorrhage, which is a bleed over the surface of the brain. A common symptom of this is a sudden, very severe headache. This is often a very serious type of stroke and sadly, about half of people who have a subarachnoid haemorrhage will die. That said, there are some operations that might have been considered. As we are not medically trained, it is difficult for us to say whether your mother would have been suitable for an operation or if this would have changed the outcome. Perhaps it would help to discuss this with East Surrey Hospital. You could speak to their Patient Advice and Liaison Service, who can put questions to medical staff on your behalf and give you advice on the hospital’s complaints procedure if you feel you want to go down this route. Contact details for PALS are:

Telephone 01737 768511, Extension 6831

Website: www.pals.nhs.uk

If you would like more information about subarachnoid haemorrhage and treatments for this, you can download our factsheet on haemorrhagic stroke from the link below:

Haemorrhagic stroke


You may also like to download our factsheet about coping after a bereavement:

Bereavement and stroke


Please note you can download our full range of leaflets and factsheets free of charge from our website www.stroke.org.uk.

I hope this information is helpful and please accept my sincere condolences for your loss. If you have any questions or would like to discuss anything further, please do not hesitate to contact us again. The helpline can offer information about stroke, signposting to local services and someone to talk to. We are open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm on 0303 30 33 100.

Yours sincerely

Douglas Youngson

Stroke Information Service


Stroke Association staff are not medically trained and the information provided does not replace information given to you by your own healthcare provider.

We would like to hold your details so that we can send you information about the work of Stroke Association. If you would like us to keep in touch please email subscribe@stroke.org.uk with your contact details.

If you would like to make a donation to Stroke Association, you can do so on our website at http://www.stroke.org.uk/donate/make_a_donation.html

All donations are gratefully received. Please do not forget to "Gift Aid" your donation if you are a UK tax payer.

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Response from Fionnula Robinson, Director of Communications, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear Rosskatya

We are very sorry to hear about what happened to your mother when she attended ED at ESH and the distress this has caused you and your family. Please accept our sincere condolences for your loss. We would like to investigate your mother's attendance to establish what happened and whether anything could have or should have been done differently. Please can you contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service on 01737 231958 or email pals@sash.nhs.uk.

Best wishes,


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