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Case Study

Graduate dies after Accident and Emergency fails to diagnose brain cyst

On 25 May 2001, Samuel attended the Accident and Emergency Department at his local hospital. He was then aged 22 having just completed a university degree in Physics. He was complaining of a severe headache which caused him to vomit.

He was examined by a nurse and admitted to hospital. After a further examination by the SHO (Senior House Officer), he was prescribed pain killers and later sickness pills. At 3.45am it was recorded that Samuel was discharged from the hospital.

In fact, he was still in hospital because his neurological condition was deteriorating. He was incontinent and drifting in and out of consciousness. His father, who was by his bedside requested that a CT scan be carried out at about 5.20am. 

Samuel continued to deteriorate. A CT scan was not in fact carried out until 11:18, by which time his condition had worsened very significantly.

The CT showed a colloid cyst and he was urgently referred to a neuro-surgery hospital for surgery. Sadly he died the following day. 

Paul McNeil pursued an accident and emergency negligence claim on behalf of Samuel's parents.

Paul alleged that Samuel's death was avoidable. The A&E clinicians at the hospital had failed to recognise the severity of his symptoms, his deteriorating level of consciousness and failed to perform an urgent CT scan.

We argued that if the CT scan had been performed a diagnosis would have been made earlier and surgery performed so as to remove the cyst before significant brain damage had occurred. 

The claim was strongly contested by the hospital even though their own internal investigation had criticised the care that Samuel received. 

After negotiations the claim was settled for £40,000, payable jointly to Samuel's parents. The case was funded on Legal Aid.

Contact us

For further information about accident and emergency negligence claims and clinical negligence claims, please call Paul McNeil on 0330 460 6804 or email


All enquiries are completely free of charge and we will investigate all funding options for you including no win, no fee.

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