A father died of meningitis, which developed from an ear infection, despite going to the doctors with the ailment four times, an inquest heard yesterday.
Andrew Broadhurst had repeatedly told doctors he was suffering from a blocked ear, headaches and problems with his sight over a period of three months.
After a medic failed to diagnose the middle ear infection, also known as otitis media, the Birmingham plasterer collapsed in the bathroom of his home on March 16 and was rushed to hospital with swelling on the brain.
Broadhurst was just 39-years-old when he contracted fatal meningitis, which was mistaken for an ear infection on four different occasions by medical professionals.
An inquest heard how Mr Broadhurst died the next day at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital from meningitis and encephalitis, caused by the same ear infection.
Andrew attended his GP surgery on December 2 and phoned the NHS 111 helpline nine days later, the court heard.
He went back to the surgery on January 18, 25 and again on March 7 with symptoms including violent headaches and visual problems.
Andrew died in hospital nine days later and his distraught mother, Brenda Partridge, pictured above alongside father Roy, told Birmingham Coroner’s Court her son’s condition had been ‘driving him mad’.
She also revealed how her son had used olive oil to try to clear out his ear and described the black discharge he was seeing which suggested an infection had taken hold.
Mrs Partridge said she heard him being violently sick in the bathroom, adding:
He had positioned himself and let the shower water run down over his head.
His arms were over his eyes – he looked at me and he was all glazed, saying, ‘mum, mum, mum’. I just phoned 999.
Dr Kate Corrigan, who saw Andrew twice in the weeks before his death, said:
My working diagnosis was migraine, so we discussed that and I suggested, and he agreed, with onward referral to neurology.
When I was writing the referral letter I made the decision to get blood tests done, it is usual procedure to call patients.
Dr Sylvia Chudley, who saw Mr Broadhurst on February 20, told the inquest:
I knew there was something not right and also could see his headaches had been assessed by Dr Corrigan four weeks previously. He needed this to be sorted.
I am really sorry we couldn’t come up with anything else we could have done differently. We took it extremely seriously and we are very shocked at what happened to him.
Dr Declan Costello, a consultant at the hospital, said:
Andrew had a middle ear infection that had moved backwards towards the bone behind the ear, the mastoid bone. Because of closeness to the brain it is very easy to spread upwards and cause meningitis.
Speaking after the hearing yesterday, Andrew’s grieving mum Brenda said:
The whole family is absolutely devastated.
Looking back, I cannot believe the pain and suffering that Andrew had to go through in the final months of his life.
Birmingham Coroner Louise Hunt recorded a verdict of death by natural causes yesterday.