Mother died after doctors diagnosed TB meningitis as a migraine

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A mother-of-five died after doctors diagnosed TB meningitis as a common migraine.

Lissa Beechey, 39, was left bedridden by tiredness and crippling headaches and with eyes so sensitive she would have to wear sunglasses to block out the light.

Despite an urgent referral from her GP querying meningitis, doctors at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend, south Wales diagnosed a migraine and sent her home with paracetamol.

Lissa Beecchey who died after contracting TB meningitis (Slater and Gordon/PA).
Lissa Beecchey who died after contracting TB meningitis (Slater and Gordon/PA).

She was admitted 10 days later and transferred to neurologists at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff but passed away.

Husband Simon Aberstone, 49, who fell in love with Lissa after a whirlwind holiday romance, said: "I'm still so angry that this was allowed to happen.

"You don't rule out TB until you've tested for it and if just one doctor had followed the correct procedures and given her the right medication then Lissa would still be here."

Tuberculosis meningitis - the symptoms of which include fatigue, headaches, neck pain and dislike of bright lights - affects just 150 to 200 people in the UK each year.

Mr Aberstone said his wife showed all the signs when she was initially seen at the Princess of Wales' medical assessment unit on September 10, 2015.

She was discharged but 10 days later returned to A&E with worsening symptoms and was admitted in a confused and disorientated state.

After requesting her X-ray results, taken three months earlier for an unrelated back problem, doctors excluded TB meningitis again despite the shadows on her lungs.

Due to Ms Beechey's deteriorating condition she was transferred to the University Hospital of Wales where she died on October 1.

Simon Aberstone has reached an out of court settlement after his wife Lissa Beecchey died from TB meningitis (Slater and Gordon/PA).
Simon Aberstone has reached an out of court settlement after his wife Lissa Beecchey died from TB meningitis (Slater and Gordon/PA).

Mr Aberstone, from Bridgend, who works as a consultant in the construction industry, said he was still struggling to come to terms with her death, but tries to stay strong for their children, aged eight and twins aged 12. She also had two older children from a previous relationship.

Solicitors acting for Mr Aberstone said the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board reached an undisclosed out of court settlement.

Mr Aberstone added: "Lissa used to bring everyone together and it was one of the things I loved most about her.

"She had time for everyone, especially when they needed her help. We used to call her the Mother Teresa of Bridgend.

"Even I didn't realise how many people's lives she touched until her funeral. It was incredible, there wasn't even standing room."

The family's lawyer, Kelly Lloyd-Davies, from Slater and Gordon, said: "The heartbreaking reality is that there were chances to save Lissa's life, but procedures weren't followed and as a result these were missed.

"While nothing can bring her back, lessons must be learned to prevent mistakes like this from happening again before any more lives are needlessly lost."

A spokesman for the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board said: "We would once more offer our sincere condolences to Ms Beachey's family for their sad loss, and apologise for the shortcomings in her care.

"We can assure Mr Aberstone we took immediate action, such as increased staffing, additional training and awareness-raising.

"Additionally, a system was put in place to ensure all investigations are followed up promptly.

"Although these measures have led to improvements, we are continuing to closely monitor the situation and will take any additional action required to ensure the improvements are maintained."