GP Dismissed Dying Girl's Brain Tumour As Migraines Caused By Exam Stress

14/08/2014 16:56 | Updated 22 May 2015


A teenager died from a brain tumour after her GP dismissed her severe headaches as migraines caused by exam stress.

Antonella Goulding, 44, told an inquest how her 16-year-old daughter Lucy was sent home four times by Dr Jaspal Mahil in the weeks leading up to her death on June 27, this year, despite complaining of headaches, vomiting and dizziness.

After seeing the GP for a final time, Lucy had told her mum: "I can't take it any more. I just want to die."

Hours later she collapsed and she died the following day in hospital, an inquest heard. In a heartbreaking twist, she died without learning that she had gained eight A grades at GCSE which would have seen her placed in the top 10 students at Chatsmore Catholic High School, in Worthing, West Sussex.

And she was also unaware that her fellow students had voted for her to be crowned prom queen at a school event. It was cancelled after her death.

The inquest heard how the doctor had told Lucy that 'there was not enough evidence of a tumour' after her mother begged for an MRI scan just days before she died.

Recording a narrative verdict, the coroner said that medical staff who came into contact with Lucy had failed to take her symptoms seriously.

She said that 'everyone was closed to anything but the psychological cause of Lucy's symptoms' and that had the tumour been detected earlier it was 'high unlikely' that she would have died.

Recording a narrative verdict, assistant coroner Karen Henderson said: "What strikes me about the evidence today is that no one believed Lucy or Mrs Goulding at any time from her admission to the point of her death.

"Everyone was closed to anything but the psychological cause of Lucy's symptoms."

After the inquest, Lucy's mum said: "It is a sad disgrace that with the education and the tools available today, Lucy's symptoms were not recognised which resulted in Lucy's death.

"I have trusted both the GP and the health professionals at the hospital and I have let my Lucy die.

"I can't undo my error. Nothing and nobody can give Lucy her precious life back.

"You can't undo your errors, but you can and must ensure that the same doesn't happen again costing another special young life."

In a statement from Western Sussex Hospitals Trust, Dr Tim Taylor, Consultant Paediatrician and Chief of Service for Women and Children, said: "We deeply regret what happened to Lucy and the failings in her care and offer our sincere apologies to her family.

"We have carried out a full investigation, which has been externally scrutinised and made changes as a result."

He said all paediatric patients are now see by a consultant at the beginning of the day followed by two reviews in the evening and night.

Common Brain Tumor Symptoms


Suggest a correction