A 32-year-old model has told of how she was left legally blind after doctors missed her vision-robbing condition.
Hazal Baybasin claims she was made to feel like a ‘drama queen’ and told she might just have a ‘low tolerance for pain’ when she complained of agonising headaches to a doctor over the phone.
Days later she went to A&E, where a CT scan showed her brain was ‘absolutely fine’. Ms Baybasin was sent home with co-codamol.
Minutes after arriving home, she collapsed on the sofa and was found by her mum and brother, who immediately called an ambulance.
Ms Baybasin was admitted to Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow, London, where she was diagnosed with intracranial hypertension — a build-up of pressure around the brain.
Hazal Baybasin went to Barnet Hospital A&E on March 31, 2019 – where she claims medics said a CN scan showed her brain was ‘absolutely fine’
Minutes after arriving home, Ms Baybasin collapsed on the sofa and was found by her mum and brother, who immediately called an ambulance
She was admitted to Northwick Park Hospital, where she was diagnosed with idiopathic intracranial hypertension – a build-up of pressure around the brain. She went completely blind nine days after arriving at Northwick
She completely lost her vision more than two weeks after arriving at hospital, describing her horrifying ordeal as ‘the most scared I’d ever been in my life’.
After being transferred to Charing Cross Hospital, doctors managed to bring back some of her sight but she has been left with ‘tunnel vision’ and registered legally blind.
Ms Baybasin, from Edgware, London, claimed medics who saved some of her sight said her blindness was preventable had she been seen by them sooner.
Detailing her experience now, four years later, Ms Baybasin said she began getting headaches in January 2019, which continued for three months.
She claims her GP at Lane End Medical Practice dismissed these as migraines and told her she had a ‘low pain tolerance’.
The sales worker, then aged 28, said she felt like her life was ‘falling apart’, as she could hardly sleep or eat, and was being pulled into meetings for missing targets and snapping at colleagues.
She said: ‘When I called the doctor up they kind of pushed it aside as a migraine.
‘I’d never even really had a migraine before, and the doctor told me it was just an extreme headache and that maybe I just have a low tolerance for pain.
‘I felt like I was going to be a drama queen if I carried on saying I was in pain after that.’
But a colleague later said to her: ‘Hazal, I don’t care what your GP told you over the phone, this isn’t a migraine.’
Ms Baybasin, who has since created an accessible skincare brand called BlindBeauty, went to Barnet Hospital’s A&E, where she had a CT scan.
She walked because she felt she couldn’t drive with the pain.
But she claims she was told her brain was ‘absolutely fine’ and that doctors sent her away with co-codamol.
Shortly after arriving home by taxi, Ms Baybasin collapsed and was taken to to Northwick Park hospital.
Ms Baybasin was admitted to hospital and medics later discovered three large clots in her brain, which were spreading down her neck. Clots can cause intracranial hypertension.
She was then moved to intensive care, a week after arriving, where her condition got worse. One week after being moved to the ICU, her vision went blurry, and 48 hours after that she had gone completely blind.
Ms Baybasin said: ‘My sight literally went overnight. My family were sitting in the room with me and I asked them to turn the lights on and they said they were on.
‘That’s when I got this really cold feeling and thought f***, it’s not just blurry, it’s dark now’. At this point it had turned pitch black so I couldn’t see anything at all.’
She claims her GP at Lane End Medical Practice dismissed these as migraines and told her she had a ‘low pain tolerance’
Ms Baybasin went to Barnet Hospital A&E, forced to walk as she felt she couldn’t drive with the pain, where she had a CT scan
Ms Baybasin was admitted to hospital and medics later discovered three large clots in her brain, which were spreading down her neck
She claims specialists said the only way to bring back her sight was through a risky operation that could leave her paralysed.
But her brother wanted a second opinion and Ms Baybasin was transferred to Charing Cross Hospital – where medics said the procedure to bring her sight back ‘wouldn’t be risky at all’.
Ms Baybasin said: ‘The neurologists [at Charing Cross] immediately knew what was wrong. They didn’t sound scared or worried, they’d seen things like it before.’
Doctors carried out a lumbar puncture – where a thin needle is inserted between the bones in your lower spine – and Ms Baybasin ‘saw three immediate flashes of light’.
This was repeated every other day and a pinprick of tunnel vision in the centre returned after about ten days. Ms Baybasin was then taken in for neurosurgery.
She woke up in intensive care to the news that the tunnel vision was all medics could recover regarding her sight. She is now registered as legally blind.
Ms Baybasin claims she was told by specialists at Charing Cross that her condition was preventable from the beginning if she had been taken seriously by doctors.
‘They said it was a shame I didn’t get to them sooner because they could have preserved more of my sight,’ she said.
‘They said if [previous doctors] took me seriously, rather than telling me to take stronger pain killers, it would have been picked up and it would have been prevented from happening at all. Hearing that made me so angry at the time.’
After her surgery, Ms Baybasin was in the intensive care unit for a week. She then spent three months there having daily physiotherapy and training to help adjust to her condition.
A spokesperson for London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust told MailOnline: ‘We’re sorry to learn of Ms Baybasin’s concerns and urge her to contact our complaints team so we can investigate further.
‘We can’t comment on individual cases due to patient confidentially but do work closely with specialist services at other hospitals in complex cases like this.’
A Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust spokesperson said: ‘We are very sorry to hear about Ms Baybasin’s experience. We have not been made aware of any issues related to her treatment but if she would like to contact us we can follow this up with her.’
MailOnline approached Lane End Medical Practice for comment.