1. West Country (W)

Grandmother death : NHS failings

Two NHS trusts in Devon have admitted failings following the death of a grandmother from a massive brain haemorrhage. Christine Smith died in July 2009 when doctors failed to recognise her 'red flag' symptoms and give her life-saving surgery.

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Doctors were trying to "brush under carpet"

Mrs Smith was first taken to the North Devon District Hospital in Barnstaple Credit: ITV News West Country

Mrs Smith, from Braunton, had first gone to the North Devon District Hospital in Barnstaple with persistent headaches, vertigo and numbness in the face. They were symptoms of two deadly enlarged blood vessels putting pressure on her brain.

When the aneurisms were detected, the mother-of-four was referred to Plymouth's Derriford Hospital.

Mrs Smith's daughter, Beverley Hopkins, was determined to discover what had happened with her mother's care at both the North Devon Healthcare NHS Trust and Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust and took legal action.

"We were all devastated by her death but when I wrote to the hospital trusts and health ombudsman to find out what had happened and they tried to fob me off for two years it was another kick in the teeth.

"It generally felt they were trying to brush it under the carpet and after getting nowhere for two years I decided legal action was my only option.

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