A HEREFORDSHIRE woman was left permanently disabled after being sent home from hospital with a brain aneurysm which later burst.

Ray Deans has now spoken for the first time about his protracted legal campaign to secure answers from the Trust that runs Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital and obtain specialist support for his wife Caroline.

The mum-of-two and grandmother-of-six, from Ross-on-Wye, suffered avoidable brain damage and has been left permanently disabled following failings in her care.

In June 2017, Mrs Deans began to complain of a headache before losing consciousness in her garden.

She was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital where doctors found she had suffered a bleed on the brain and that she had an aneurysm. However, despite discussing treatment options, medics failed to treat the aneurysm before discharging her.

A week after she was sent home, Mrs Deans collapsed again. Her aneurysm had ruptured, causing a second bleed on the brain.


She was re-admitted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where she underwent emergency surgery, but she had suffered severe brain damage.

Mrs Deans spent around five months in hospital and now lives in a nursing home. She has been unable to return home, is in a semi-vegetative state and is entirely reliant on others for all aspects of her care.

Mr Deans, 62, instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his wife’s care and help her access the specialist lifetime care, support and therapies she requires.

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the Queen Elizabeth, admitted liability, including that it failed to treat Mrs Deans’ aneurysm, before discharging her. The trust admitted that if Mrs Deans had undergone treatment, on the balance of probabilities, the aneurysm wouldn’t have burst and she would have avoided her brain injury.

Mr Deans and his legal team are now calling for lessons to be learned.

It comes after the trust agreed a ‘substantial’ undisclosed settlement ensuring Mrs Deans' lifelong care needs will be taken of, more than two years after they admitted liability.

In a letter to Mr Deans in October 2020, the trust said that concluding Caroline’s aneurysm was “incidental and unrelated to the bleed fell below the standard of care she should have been entitled to receive.”

The letter added: “We accept, had treatment been undertaken prior to her discharge, Caroline would have avoided the subsequent bleed, brain damage and catastrophic outcome she has suffered.”

Mr Deans now hopes to use the settlement to pay for an adapted property and bespoke care package, allowing Mrs Deans to live as independently as possible with her family.

Rosalie Reading of Irwin Mitchell, who represented the couple, said: “The catastrophic and avoidable injuries Caroline suffered have had a devastating effect, not only on her but her family.


“The last few years and trying to come to terms with how their lives will never be the same have been incredibly difficult for them.

“Ray’s focus is now on ensuring his wife can access the specialist care, support and therapies she requires because of the failings in her care.

“However, it’s also vital that lessons are learned from Caroline’s case to improve patient safety for others.”

Describing his wife as "strong-willed and independent" before her collapse, Mr Dean said: “We really enjoyed life as a family and she was such a fun and outgoing person.

“Sadly, that’s all in the past for us now, and seeing my wife struggle day after day is heart-breaking. It’s difficult not to get upset at how our lives have changed forever because of the failings in her care.

“The hardest thing to understand is how she was allowed home from hospital despite doctors knowing she had an aneurysm and discussing it amongst themselves. Aneurysms aren’t something minor; they’re extremely dangerous and can have disastrous consequences if they rupture.

“It’s difficult not to think things could have been so different if Caroline received the care she should have. Our children would still have their mother looking out for them, our grandchildren would have their granny spoiling them and I would still have my best friend by my side.

“The last few years of trying to get all of the answers as to what went wrong has felt a real struggle. I understand there needed to be various tests and things to assess the level of care Caroline needs, but one of the hardest things to accept is that it’s taken the trust more than two years to agree a settlement after admitting errors and apologising.

Want to stay up to date with all the latest news for your local area? It's easy, just sign up for our free weekly email newsletter here and all the important stories that matter to you will be delivered straight to your inbox.

“Everyone at the home is amazing, but my main goal now is to get Caroline into her own adapted house so she can have a bespoke package of care and therapies and be surrounded by her family.

“Caroline has been taking part in various therapies such as neuro-physiotherapy, art therapy and music therapy and she has responded well to those. There have even been occasions where she has spoken a few words.

"All I can hope for now is that the trust learns from not only how Caroline was badly let down when she needed help but also how families going through the most difficult of times following avoidable medical mistakes need access to the best support and rehabilitation as quickly as possible.”

A spokesperson for University Hospitals Birmingham said: “We extend our sincere apologies to Mrs Deans, and her family, for the mistakes that were made during her care.

“We recognise that Mrs Deans’ care fell below the standards that she expected and deserved, and we have worked with Mrs Deans’ solicitors to support her ongoing needs.”