A young fisherman is recovering in hospital after a sinus infection attacked his brain – forcing surgeons to remove a chunk of his skull.
Matthew Mcatasney had gone to the doctor repeatedly with a headache which wouldn’t shift, but was sent home with painkillers.
On January 25 however, the 20-year-old was rushed to hospital after he became unable to speak, his eyes “went funny” and he began fitting.
At Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, he was put into an induced coma to stop the seizures and a scan showed a shadow on his skull.
Medics told his worried parents Paul Mcatasney and Trisha McKay, both of Peterhead, that they were unsure if he would survive – and warned them to prepare for the worst as they took him into surgery.
During the operation, surgeons discovered Mr Mcatasney, from Fraserburgh, had a sinus infection which had been left untreated and spread to his brain.
To relieve the pressure on his head and get rid of the infection they removed a large piece of his skull – with just skin now clipped over his brain.
His frantic parents, sisters and girlfriend Lia Wallace waited anxiously for him to waken up, and he is now awaiting a further operation to have a metal plate inserted.
Another operation to sort his sinuses was successful.
Yesterday, Mr Mcatasney urged people not to be afraid to go back to their doctor if they did not feel their diagnosis was right.
He said: “It was excruciating pain and being told just to take painkillers felt like I was wasting my time.
“I always thought something was going on. They said to my mum that if they had just done a blood test it could have been prevented.
“This has changed my life for sure. Anyone going through something like I did need to try to seek proper help asap.”
He now faces another few weeks in hospital before he will be allowed home.
His family plan to complain to NHS Grampian about the misdiagnosis.
Mum Ms McKay said: “It was hopeless. If speaking out about how much Matthew went through trying to get help spurs even one person on to keep seeking help and get treatment then I’ll be happy.
“One little blood test could have saved this but instead his life has been ripped apart.”
His father added: “I thought I was going to lose him. If he had gone to sea fishing for work and it had got worse then I don’t think he would still be with us.”
A spokesman for NHS Grampian encouraged Mr Mcatasney to contact them.
He said: “When a patient does make direct contact with us we are more than willing to discuss their case with them – including their diagnosis, treatment and any further care they received.”