Missed Cancer Diagnosis Results in Right Foot Amputation
06 November 2015
A man who had to have his right foot amputated after doctors failed to diagnose his cancer more than 12 times, has received £600,000 in compensation.
Settlement Value: £600,000
Slater and Gordon Solicitor: Paul Sankey is a Clinical Negligence Solicitor at Slater and Gordon in London.
What Happened: Slater and Gordon acted for a 47 year-old man who had had a verruca on the underside of his right foot since his teenage years.
As it was asymptomatic, the verruca caused him no concerns until it became painful in July 2009. When he attended an appointment at the defendant hospital, he was assessed by an experienced consultant dermatologist. But the consultant failed to identify that his verruca had developed into a carcinoma and he was sent home with a prescription for antibiotics.
Over the following two years, the client attended the same hospital a further 12 times. But each time, clinicians failed to diagnose his cancer and he was not treated.
It was not until September 2011, 26 months after his initial appointment, that an MRI scan identified the presence of a lesion and the client was correctly diagnosed. By this stage, the tumour was inoperable and he had to undergo a right foot amputation in October 2011.
How Slater and Gordon Helped: The client instructed Slater and Gordon in September 2011, shortly before the amputation took place. After concluding that there were good prospects of success, we agreed to pursue the claim under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), commonly known as a no win, no fee agreement.
Slater and Gordon concluded that medical staff were negligent in failing to reach a correct diagnosis of verrucous carcinoma, and in failing to arrange a biopsy during the numerous hospital appointments the client attended.
Further medical evidence from a histopathologist concluded that, had the diagnosis been made at any stage before October 2010, the cancer would have responded to curative treatment and the amputation would have been avoided.
We investigated the impact of the condition on our client’s ability to work, his accommodation and support at home, and the best possible prosthesis available for him. We also obtained expert evidence from experts in care, accommodation and prosthetics.
Decision: Proceedings were issued in February 2013 and the defendants admitted full liability in October 2013. As a result of this admission, Slater and Gordon succeeded in obtaining an interim payment of £100,000.
In February 2015, one month before trial, we succeeded in negotiating a settlement of £600,000.
Although no amount of money will undo the effects of the client’s amputation, it will go some way in ensuring that he has access to the right care, equipment and prosthetics to ease his daily life and make up for his limited ability to work.
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