During the teenager’s inquest, which opened on 22 March at Sheffield’s Medico Legal Centre, the court heard that 18-year-old Kasey Turner, from Barnsley, had been “screaming in pain” due to what was noted as a ‘thunderclap headache’.
Turner died on 27 February 2021 just days after she was admitted to Barnsley Hospital. Her initial cause of death was listed as cerebral venous thrombosis and immune thrombocytopenia. But a diagnosis of sinus thrombosis, a potentially-life threatening blood clot in the sinus cavities, was missed during Turner’s CT scan.
Professor Michael Makris, a professor of haemostasis and thrombosis at the University of Sheffield, told the court that Turner had a condition known as vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (“VITT”), which is characterised by the presence of two conditions concurrently: thrombosis, and thrombocytopenia. A condition in which patients have a low blood platelet count. Turner had both of these. Professor Makris told the court that VITT would be a “more precise diagnosis”, than that of simply cerebral venous thrombosis.
A thunderclap headache is described as an extremely severe headache that comes on rapidly, usually developing in 60 seconds or less. Dr Nicola Lee, a consultant radiologist at Barnsley Hospital, told the court that this type of headache is “most commonly associated with a subarachnoid haemorrhage“.
Turner had been complaining of headache pain across her right temple and the right side of her head. Dr Lee said that, if she was reporting a scan and had been aware of localised pain in one area, she would “review that area”, but the court heard that no such reviews had been made by doctors dealing with Turner’s scans. A diagnosis of sinus thrombosis is “not an easy diagnosis to pick up at all,” Dr. Lee said, “if you don’t know you’re looking for it, it would be missed.”