The family of a 55 year-old former nurse from Great Barr has welcomed an inquest verdict today, 20th December, which found that failings, one of which was gross, on the part of Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust contributed to her death. The Coroner outlined a number of failings by the Trust, which it had not only accepted during the inquest but also stated that it had begun making changes following a series of reviews and investigations.
Mrs Nancie Haycock, who had worked as a nurse at Walsall Manor Hospital but was a housewife at the time of her death, was admitted to Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield on 19th September 2009, Nancie was diagnosed as suffering from epilepsy and referred for a CT scan and EEG, to measure the electrical activity of her brain, with a follow-up scheduled for within 3 to 4 weeks. 
Despite the abnormal EEG reading, there was no follow-up at Good Hope Hospital. Mrs Haycock suffered a second seizure on 17th October 2009 and was treated by her GP at the Kingsmount Medical Centre. 
No5 barrister, Mamta Gupta, a specialist in personal injury and clinical negligence cases, was instructed by Thompsons Solicitors to represent Mrs Haycock’s family at the inquest. 
HM Deputy Coroner Sarah Ormond-Walshe, sitting at Birmingham Coroner’s Court in Newton Street, heard that, despite Mrs Haycock’s GP contacting Good Hope Hospital, Nancie was not seen for six months. A Consultant Neurologist saw Nancie on 6th March 2010 and referred her for MRI. 
However, disagreements between the Neurologist and Radiologist, which constituted the gross failing, delayed the MRI. Nancie was admitted to Good Hope Hospital on 7th May 2010 as she was experiencing speech difficulties and tests led to a diagnosis on 10th May of glioblastoma, an aggressive brain tumour. Mrs Haycock underwent an emergency craniotomy performed at the QE Hospital to reduce the tumour on 11th May.
Nancie Haycock remained at the QE Hospital for almost a month, being discharged on 8th June 2010 and referred to an Oncologist for radiotherapy. Two days later she collapsed at home and was taken to Selly Oak Hospital where it was found that the tumour had curled itself around her brain and was bleeding. Nancie died at Selly Oak Hospital 13th June 2010. 
“Evidence was heard during the inquest from Mr Hamid, a Consultant Neurosurgeon, that, had there been an earlier diagnosis of the brain tumour, Nancie Haycock would have lived longer and, on the balance of probabilities, enjoyed a better quality of life,” says Kashmir Uppal of Thompsons Solicitors.
Mamta Gupta of No5 Chambers comments: “The Coroner highlighted a number of Good Hope Hospital’s discrete, unrelated failures which, together, caused a delay in the diagnosis and treatment of the brain tumour. This delay was both tragic and fatal and family members had been worried that Nancie was not only the unwitting victim of a disagreement between Good Hope Hospital’s neurology and radiology departments but also a catalogue of errors that deprived them of a loving wife and mother.”
Nancie Haycock is survived by her husband Colin and son Andrew. They hope that lessons will be learnt from Nancie’s death and that no other family has to endure what they have been through.
Andrew Haycock says: “We are grateful for the investigation into this because we felt that there were many mistakes made and things need to be addressed, with a view to preventing this happening to anyone else. Failings on the path of the trust included the five month delay to see the Neurologist and the one month delay in my mother having the MRI.” 
Having heard evidence of the failings of the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust and following Ms Osborn-Walshe’s inquest verdict, the Haycock family intends to pursue a clinical negligence claim.
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