28 Jan 2014

GP faulted over migraine diagnosis

10:28 pm on 28 January 2014

A woman died from a large bleed in her brain the day after she was misdiagnosed with a migraine at an after-hours medical clinic.

The public's health watchdog says in a report released on Tuesday that clinic staff made the woman feel as if she was an inconvenience to them.

Health and Disability Commissioner Anthony Hill says the 48-year-old was taken to the unnamed clinic in 2011 suffering from a sudden-onset severe headache.

The GP diagnosed a migraine caused by alcohol, prescribed anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory drugs and passed her to another GP for monitoring.

The woman was discharged when the pain appeared to have eased, but collapsed at home early the next morning and died in hospital that day of a brain bleed too large to treat.

Mr Hill says the GP failed to take a full history and investigate subarachnoid haemorrhage as a possible diagnosis.

Reports that clinic nurses were unhelpful or rude are concerning, he says.