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Cork GP died after brain surgery and migraine misdiagnosis

Forty-year-old Dr Niamh Long died after complications during brain surgery to treat a serious haemorrhage which was initially diagnosed as migraine.

Image: ernstl via Creative Commons

AN INQUEST into the death of a Co Cork GP who died after undergoing surgery for a brain haemorrhage has heard that one of the doctors who treated her accepts that they made a wrong decision during her treatment, the Examiner reports.

Mother-of-three Dr Niamh Long, 40, was brought to Cork University Hospital by ambulance on 6 January 2011 suffering a severe headache. After examining and observing her, Dr Gergely Halasz diagnosed migraine and prescribed medication for that before discharging her.

Halasz acknowledged that the original assessment diagnosing migraine was incorrect. The Independent reports that he told the inquest that Long’s symptoms did not warrant a CT scan.

Long returned to the emergency department the next day amid growing concerns about her condition. A CT scan showed she had suffered a large brain haemorrhage and had a blood blister aneurysm, RTÉ reports. Operating on Long, consultant neurosurgeon Charlie Marks attempted to place a clip on the aneurysm, but the clip cut an artery. Marks attempted to repair the damage but was unsuccessful.

He told the inquest his decision to try the clip was “probably wrong” and was sorry not to have pursued an alternative course of action.

Long died on 12 January. The inquest jury returned a verdict of death by medical misadventure.

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