Published: 06:00, 12 October 2020
A young woman who had a potentially fatal blood clot on her brain causing symptoms doctors misdiagnosed as Covid-19 says she owes her life to an optician from Kings Hill.
Amandeep Bains started noticing rashes and joint pain in January which doctors initially told her were caused by eczema and arthritis.
As coronavirus began to take its toll the 23-year-old's symptoms became more severe with headaches, dizziness and short blackouts impacting her everyday life.
Doctors then amended the diagnosis to Covid-19.
But Miss Bains from London knew it was more than the virus causing her trouble so she contacted her uncle Satvinder Shoker who runs Kings Hill Opticians with the hope of getting some answers.
After speaking on the phone Mr Shoker, who has been running the practice in Liberty Square for 15-years, asked his niece to come in for tests the following day as he suspected she may need urgent medical attention.
The optician who used to head the Eye Department at Maidstone Hospital found there were haemorrhages in the blood vessels behind both her eyes and her optic nerves were extremely swollen.
Mr Shoker, 39, from Borough Green said: "I sent her straight to the Prince Charles Eye Unit in Windsor and gave her copies of all the scans that I had taken, so that she could give them to whoever saw her."
Further tests over the next few days revealed Miss Bains had a blood clot caused by two underlying chronic conditions which she previously knew nothing about.
She was diagnosed with Lupus, an autoimmune disease which causes her body to attack her red blood cells, and Hughes Syndrome, which causes sticky blood and aggravates the Lupus.
Sticky blood syndrome is a major cause of strokes in people under the age of 50 and just like Miss Bains, it is often only diagnosed after a person has had a number of blood clots.
Miss Bains admits the results left her reeling and said her uncle’s actions saved her from a possible stroke or brain damage.
She added: “If Satvinder hadn’t told me to come in I would’ve stayed at home because it was right in the middle of lockdown and I wasn’t able to see a doctor in person; they couldn’t diagnose me because it was all done over the phone.”
While Miss Bains is undergoing further treatment, Mr Shoker is urging people not to neglect their eye tests because of the pandemic.
He said: "I'm glad I could help because during the lockdown period it was quite tough because a lot of patients detracted from seeing doctors and from having regular appointments.
"We were still operating as a business and providing essential services so it was nice that we were able to help at such a difficult time.
“The eyes provide a window on general health and regular eye tests are about so much more than finding out if you need prescription glasses.
"A good optician will be able to identify early markers of a whole range of potential conditions to make sure you get early medical attention."
Although Miss Bains' medical battles are not over, she is looking forward to when she can go on a less aggressive medication which will not compromise her immune system and help her get back to some normality.