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Rugby player wrongly told he had brain damage after Northern Ireland hospital mixed up CT scan with elderly woman's


Antrim Area Hospital

Antrim Area Hospital

Antrim Area Hospital

A young rugby player has told how he was diagnosed with brain damage by a Northern Ireland hospital doctor - only to be told later that a mix-up had occurred, and he was fine.

Eddie York (29) developed a headache and suffered serious vomiting after he broke his nose playing rugby, on one day being sick twelve times.

He went to Antrim A&E where he underwent a CT scan.

"A nice junior doctor came and took me into a little room," he told the BBC Nolan Show.

"She sat me down and informed me that on the secondary pick-up they had seen that I had brain ischemia - I had brain damaged both frontal lobes of my brain.

"The whole world swam round me a little bit.

"They said it was unusual for someone my age to have that condition."

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Mr York left the hospital and travelled home to Magherafelt with his shocked mum, where he began to think of what life with brain damage could be like.

"I thought I'm 29 and I have brain damage, what does this mean? For my future, are parents are going to have to look after me. All those thoughts creep in."

However, as his mum made him dinner, his phone rang.

"I get a phonecall telling me that there was a mix-up and that I am actually in the all-clear.

"They had mixed up my scan with that of an 80-year-old woman, who was actually in front of me in the queue to get a CT scan.

"So I had seen her, she had her head bandaged because she had fallen and hit her head.

"Which is horrible for her children because I don't know whether they had to ring her and say they picked this up."

Mr York said he did not blame the doctors.

"I would never blame the NHS, the staff have never been anything but professional and competent. But the fact that they're working under those conditions and that pressure that it can lead to those mistakes.

"It sounds great for a politician to be able to say there's X amount of people being seen in A&E in this amount of time, but when you put performance targets on a service like that, the quality is going to suffer and that's the real issue."

A Northern Trust statement says staff contacted Mr York within 30 minutes of leaving the hospital when a doctor realised the mistake, though Mr York says it took longer than that.

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