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Delay in Cancer Diagnosis Case Concluded by Medical Negligence Lawyer

03 September 2012

In this Medical Negligence case Slater and Gordon Lawyer Paul Sankey represented a 67 year old woman who had been successfully treated for breast cancer in 2004 with chemotherapy and a left breast Mastectomy.

She subsequently underwent annual medical reviews. In 2009 she underwent a routine CT chest scan which was reported normal. Over the following year she suffered from persistent shortness of breath and fatigue. In 2010 she noticed a lump on her right breast.

Scans indicated an abnormality and a subsequent biopsy showed that the lump was Adenocarcinoma, a form of cancer. The tumour was thought to be lung cancer although it was in fact a recurrent of her previous breast cancer. 

The 2009 scan was reviewed and in fact found to have been misinterpreted as normal when it clearly showed the tumour.

After investigating the NHS Hospital admitted that this was a negligent error which had led to a year's delay in cancer diagnosis. Sadly the woman developed secondary cancer in her brain and died very soon after instructing us to represent her.

Evidence was obtained from experts in breast surgery, oncology, radiology and tumour pathology. All indicated that, whilst a clear medical error had been made, there was no treatment which could have altered the course of a very aggressive form of triple negative breast cancer.

It was therefore impossible to show that the error had in fact caused any harm. The claim was nevertheless settled by negotiation with the hospital paying notional damages of £10,000 to the woman's estate.

Paul Sankey is Clinical & Medical Negligence Lawyer at Slater and Gordon in London.

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