Patient Settles Claim for Misdiagnosed Melanoma

A woman, who was mistakingly told her melanoma was benign, has been awarded an undisclosed settlement for her suffering. 

Joyce Huck, then aged seventy-two from Sutton-in-Craven, Yorkshire, attended the Bradford Royal Infirmary in February 2013 for the surgical removal of a melanoma on her skin. Joyce was told that the growth was benign and did not pose a risk to her health. However, Joyce was still uncertain concerning the diagnosis and decided to consult her normal GP. 

After visiting her GP, Joyce was then sent for further biopsies that confirmed that the melanoma was indeed malignant. In 2015, Joyce had a further operation such that the growth could be removed, with additional samples from her lymph nodes taken to assess if the cancer had metastasised. Fortunately, Joyce was given the all-clear. 

After the second surgery, Joyce consulted a medical negligence solicitor and proceeded to make a claim for misdiagnosis compensation against the Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. In the claim, Joyce alleged that she suffered from unnecessary stress and anxiety after learning that her melanoma was misdiagnosed. 

The Trust admitted its failings in care and after negotiations the parties decided upon a five-figure settlement of compensation. Representatives of the NHS Trust additionally apologised for the mistake, saying that it was “deeply sorry” for the stress inflicted upon the family. A spokesman added that “The care we provided fell below our usual high standards and we sincerely apologise to Mrs Huck for this”.

Speaking to her local press after the announcement of the settlement, Joyce commented that “At the time [of being called back to the hospital] I was not told the previous biopsies had been misreported. It was only when I was referred to a plastic surgeon for the growth to be completely removed that I was told the earlier biopsies had also shown cancer. It was shocking to think I’d been living with cancer for so long and it had been left untreated.”

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Negotiations Resolve Cancer Misdiagnosis Clai

Out-of-court negotiations between an allegedly negligent doctor and a patient whose cancer was misdiagnosed have resulted in a six-figure settlement of compensation.

The patient, a woman whose anonymity has been preserved throughout proceedings, visited her GP with concerns over a mole on her foot. The mole had recently changed shape and began to irritate the woman, though the GP assured her that it was nothing to worry about and sent her home.

Dissatisfied with the doctor’s conclusion, the woman sought a second opinion from another doctor in the same surgery. The second GP also refused to refer her to a dermatologist, telling her again that the mole was not something with which to concern herself and sent her home. In neither consultation was the size of the mole checked.

The woman was still concerned over the changes she perceived in the growth and visited a third GP. This doctor notified the patient that she would not be able to remove the mole, though offered to take the top off of it. When the patient refused, the GP referred her to a dermatologist at a nearby hospital.

The dermatologist conducted a biopsy and sent part of the mole away for diagnostics. Unfortunately the results came back to say that the mole was cancerous, and the woman underwent emergency surgery to remove the rest of the growth. However, further diagnostics showed that the cancer had metastasised and the woman is currently undergoing treatment for secondary cancers.

Upon receiving the cancer diagnosis, the woman consulted a medical negligence solicitor and proceeded to make a claim against the first GP and their surgery for the misdiagnosis of her cancer. In the claim, she alleged that if the diagnosis had been made in a timely manner her prognosis would be better.

However, both the GP and the surgery contested the claim for compensation, denying that they were involved in medical negligence. Yet once court action was threatened, the insurance company of the two parties settled with the woman for an undisclosed six-figure settlement.

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Family Initiates Claim for Misdiagnosis of Neck Fracture

The family of a man who died because of an undiagnosed neck fracture has indicated their intent to claim compensation for his suffering.

The causative accident occurred on the 23rd May 2015, when eighty-seven year-old Patrick Byrne fell at his home in Melksham. He was quickly admitted to the Royal United Hospital in Bath, where his condition deteriorated and the pain dropped beneath his chest. Patrick was subsequently unable to move his neck.

Though his family persistently asked medical staff to investigate Patrick’s pain, he was moved to the Chippenham Community Hospital a few days later. After another fall, he returned to the Royal United Hospital.

Eventually, a scan was conducted on Patrick’s neck and it was revealed that the initial fall had caused his spinal cord to be compressed. Patrick never recovered from the resultant paralysis and died in hospital on the 21st October 2015.

Avon Coroner’s Court heard a two-day inquest into the death and ruled that Patrick died from natural causes. This is in spite of the opinions of Peter Harrowing, a coroner who claimed that Patrick was let down by medical staff who failed to identify his condition when it first presented.

Patrick’s family have expressed their discontent with the verdict, labelling it as “bizarre” and expressing intent to pursue a claim for misdiagnosis compensation. Elizabeth, Patrick’s daughter, commented to the Wiltshire Times that “The standard of care my father received fell well below what should have been expected and, if the neck fracture had been diagnosed earlier, he could have had treatment which would have avoided the paralysis and his last months would not have been as distressing. The evidence was there. There were a lot of failures.”
A spokesperson for the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust has also issued a statement, claiming that “We would once again like to offer our deepest condolences to Mr Byrne’s family at this difficult time. We acknowledge that we did not always meet our own high standards of care on this occasion and for this we apologise.”

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Woman Recovers Compensation for the Late Diagnosis of Cancer

A mother of two has recovered £50,000 compensation for the late diagnosis of cancer which resulted in her unnecessarily having chemotherapy treatment.

The unnamed woman from Swindon in Wiltshire visited her GP in March 2009 complaining of a persistent dry cough, a hoarse voice and a lump on the side of her neck. The woman – who had successfully been treated for breast cancer before in 2000 – was referred to the Ear, Nose and Throat Department of the Royal United Hospital in Bath.

At the hospital, the woman underwent a CT scan that indicated she may have cancer of the lymph nodes. However, a biopsy taken after the scan was too small for the preliminary diagnosis to be confirmed and, following a subsequent MRI on her neck, the woman was diagnosed with “idiopathic vocal chord palsy”.

The woman again visited her GP in July 2011 – this time with a larger lump on the left side of her neck, the same persistent dry cough and hoarse voice as before and pins and needles in her left arm. The GP arranged for his patient to have an urgent chest X-ray. The X-ray revealed breast cancer that had metastasised into the woman´s throat and left shoulder.

Six courses of chemotherapy managed to halt the spread of the cancer and resolve the pins and needles in the woman´s left arm, but such was her distress at having to unnecessarily undergo the invasive treatment, that she complained to the Royal University Hospital about the standard of care that she had received.

After the hospital denied that the standard of care she had received fell below an acceptable level, the woman sought legal advice and claimed compensation for the late diagnosis of cancer. An investigation commissioned by her solicitor found abnormalities in the 2009 MRI scan that “at the time and in the circumstances” should have prompted a second biopsy that would have enabled a correct diagnosis.

Despite legal action being threatened, the Royal United Hospital continued to deny its liability for the woman´s unnecessary chemotherapy treatment and refused to discuss a settlement of compensation for the late diagnosis of cancer. However, as soon as court proceedings were issued, the NHS Litigation Authority agreed to settle the claim for £50,000.

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NHS Admit Liability after Mistreating Broken Leg

 

A woman, who suffered for many years as the result of negligent treatment of her broken leg, has just heard the NHS admit liability for her mistreatment.

When Sally Marsh, aged twenty-five of Diglis in Worcestershire, was playing football in August 2012, she fell and landed awkwardly on her right leg, resulting in two fractured bones. Emergency services were called, which then took Ms Marsh to the Worcester Royal Hospital, where a full cast was put on her leg.

As Ms Marsh was discharged, she was told that it was safe to apply pressure to the leg, despite it being in a case. The cast was replaced with one that covered just half of her leg eight weeks after the incident, which Ms Marsh wore for a further six weeks. However, after this period it was clear upon removal of the half-cast that the bones had not healed properly.

Ms Marsh was then referred to an orthopaedic specialist, where it was discovered that Ms Marsh’s bones had set at a nineteen degree angle. The consultant said that Ms Marsh would require an operation to fix the alignment. However, Ms Marsh did not undergo this surgery until nine months after the operation, as the NHS consistently cancelled and postponed the procedure.

During this time, Ms Marsh was suffering from a great deal of pain in her right leg, forcing her to go on sick leave in work and preventing her from engaging in her usual hobbies. Eventually, the operation was performed, and afterwards Ms Marsh had a metal cage placed around her leg to help support the limb. This, too, had unintended consequences, as the cage caused Ms Marsh to contract a bacterial infection, forcing her to go on a series of antibiotics.

Ms Marsh sought legal counsel and subsequently made a claim for compensation against the Worcester Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, who oversee proceedings at the Worcester Royal Hospital where she was treated. She alleged that her early discharge from hospital contributed to her illness, and that the hospital did not act quickly enough to operate upon her after her casts were removed. Now, as a consequence of her negligent treatment, Ms Marsh has permanent nerve damage and deformity in her leg.

An inquest into the circumstances of the claim was conducted by the Worcester Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, after which liability was admitted for the injuries caused to Ms Marsh. Negotiations are currently underway concerning the level of compensation Ms Marsh is to receive.

Ms Marsh commented, after hearing about the admission of liability, that “It’s a relief that at least now the NHS Trust has admitted that it made mistakes and my legal case can move to the next stage. I just hope that no one else has to suffer as I have in the future.”

 

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Woman with Missed Diagnosis of Bowel Cancer Receives Compensation

The woman, who is terminally ill with bowel cancer, has settled the compensation claim she made against her former surgeon after receiving a misdiagnosis of her illness.

The patient – Emma Cook, forty-one of Stanbridge in Bedfordshire – first brought her condition to the attention of medics in 2009, when she visited her GP with abdominal pain. There, she was diagnosed with an infection of her urinary tract and prescribed a course of antibiotics. Yet her condition progressed and she suffered from vomiting, diarrhoea and a fever. She was referred to the Accident and Emergency Department of the Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

Dr James Tweedie, a consultant surgeon, treated Mrs Cook at the facility, suspecting that her symptoms could indicate a urinary tract infection, a cyst on her ovaries or appendicitis. An ultrasound was carried out, and a mass on Mrs Cook’s appendix was observed. Mrs Cook was then put on antibiotics in preparation for an appendectomy.

The antibiotics eased Mrs Cook’s condition such that she was released from hospital in December of that year without the aforementioned appendectomy being carried out. Mrs Cook had review sessions with Dr Tweedie on two occasions after the discharge, but there was no advice for follow-up treatments.

Mrs Cook then emigrated to Australia with her husband and their three young children, where she began to experience more abdominal pains. Her GP carried out tests and made the diagnosis of advanced bowel cancer that February. Mrs Cook then sought legal counsel, making a claim for her misdiagnosis by Dr Tweedie. She claimed that, due to difficulties in differentiating between infections of the lower abdomen and bowel cancer, Dr Tweedie should have been more thorough and conducted a colonoscopy. Had this shown that the patient had bowel cancer, she would have received adequate treatment to prevent metastasis – cancer spreading around the body.

However, before the case could commence, Dr Tweedie received a cancer diagnosis and died in July 2011. The claim followed through, lodged against his estate, and was settled for £125,000. Mrs Cook stated after the settlement that “We wouldn’t have moved our young family to the other side of the world, thousands of miles away from our parents and friends, had Dr Tweedie correctly diagnosed me”.

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Compensation Settlement for Ectopic Pregnancy Misdiagnosis

A £15,000 compensation settlement has been paid to a woman after she became infertile following a missed diagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy.

The woman, who remains anonymous, sought medical advice from her GP in June 2012 as she was suffering pain to her lower left abdomen. She and her husband were trying for their third child and the woman was referred by her GP to the Early Pregnancy Unit at Swindon’s Great General Hospital, where an ultrasound scan was carried out.

The scan did not reveal anything in the womb, but the woman had two follow-up appointments at the hospital for blood tests and further ultrasounds. The blood tests showed that she had increased BHCG levels, though their were not sufficiently high to determine whether or not she was pregnant.

Three likelihoods were outlined to the patient – a normal pregnancy, a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy. The woman had suffered two prior ectopic pregnancies; one resulted in the removal of a fallopian tube, whilst the second was treated successfully with methotrexate.

More scans and blood tests were carried out, and the woman was asked to return to the hospital ten days later for a laparoscopy, a procedure used to examine abdominal organs. The woman was then informed that the blood tests indicated that she had an ectopic pregnancy. When she arrived at the hospital for treatment, she was told by doctors that her remaining fallopian tube would need to be removed, rendering her infertile.

Following the procedure, the woman sought legal counsel and proceeded to make a compensation claim for the misdiagnosis of her ectopic pregnancy. She stated the the medical practitioners should have diagnosed her condition earlier, given her history of such pregnancies and carried out a treatment of methotrexate. She claimed that this would have prevented the damage to her fallopian tube that meant it could only be removed, leaving her still fertile and able to try for another child. The hospital conceded to the error, and out-of-court negotiations lead to an agreement that a settlement for the misdiagnosed ectopic pregnancy be settled for £15,000.

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Costs Awarded against NHS after Nine-Year Cancer Misdiagnosis Case

More than £1 million pounds costs have been awarded against the NHS after a nine-year cancer misdiagnosis case was settled for £91,300.

In November 2006, David O´Reilly from Chichester in Sussex died from metastatic colorectal cancer – five years after a lesion in his colon was overlooked by a consultant conducting an endoscopy. A second medical opinion the following year misdiagnosed David´s symptoms as bowel cancer when there was still time to treat his condition and prolong his life.

Following David´s death, his widow – Sue – made a compensation claim against the NHS for the premature death of her husband and the emotional trauma she had suffered. Sue also had to move back to her family´s home in Australia so that she could get support caring for her youngest child – Shane – who suffered from cerebral palsy.

Once settled in Australia, Sue applied for the cancer misdiagnosis case to be heard in New South Wales. The NHS Trust objected to the transfer of the case, but – as Sue was unable to travel to the UK while caring for her son – the New South Wales Supreme Court agreed to Sue´s request in 2010. Sadly, soon after the medical negligence case got underway, Shane died due to complications related to his cerebral palsy.

With Sue now able to travel, the Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust requested that the medical negligence case to be transferred back to the UK. The judge presiding over the case – Mr Justice Peter Garling – agreed to the application, and was made a temporary examiner by the Royal Court of Justice so that he could continue hearing the medical negligence claim in the UK.

When the medical negligence case was concluded, Judge Garling found in Sue´s favour and awarded her £91,300 compensation for the Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust´s breach in its duty of care.  However, the legal costs of pursuing the claim had run into millions, and the NHS Trust contested that it should not be liable for the full amount.

A proposal was entered that the NHS Trust should only pay 25% of Sue´s legal fees – a proposal that would have bankrupted Sue if it was upheld. However, Judge Garling dismissed the NHS Trust´s argument, and awarded the full amount of the costs of the medical negligence case against the NHS for the misdiagnosis of cancer against the Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

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Health Ombudsman Criticises Hospital for Failure to Diagnose Breast Cancer

The Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman has criticised St Albans Hospital in Hertfordshire for the failure to diagnose breast cancer in a forty-one year old patient.

The patient – identified in the Ombudsman´s report as “Mrs G” – was referred to the breast care unit at St Albans Hospital in May 2010 by her GP. However, according to the report, the hospital failed to conduct the appropriate tests and the woman´s breast cancer was overlooked.

When the woman returned to St Albans Hospital for a second round of tests in December 2011, tests revealed that the breast cancer had advanced to an inoperable stage and had spread into her brain, liver and bones. The woman had to give up her job because of her illness – adding considerable financial strains to the stress she was experiencing about how long she had left to share with her young son.

The Ombudsman´s investigation into the hospital´s failure to diagnose breast cancer concluded that “Mrs G was let down by the hospital” and that her life had been cut short by the hospital´s “serious failings”. The Ombudsman also claimed that the patient would have made a full recovery if the cancer had been diagnosed at an earlier stage.

The Ombudsman called for West Hertfordshire NHS Trust to make a “full and sincere apology” to their patient and to pay her £70,000 compensation for the failure to diagnose breast cancer. Author of the report – Julie Mellor – said “This is a very sad example of what can go wrong when doctors and trusts don’t carry out the necessary and proper diagnoses and tests, and the terrible impact it can have on someone’s life.”

In response, the NHS Trust´s Chief Executive Samantha Jones commented “We clearly failed Ms G and I have offered her my personal and sincerest apologies.” Ms Jones added that the NHS Trust had put mechanisms in place to prevent the same mistakes being made again, and said that consultants dealing with breast cancer referrals had been given additional training.

Last year the West Hertfordshire Hospital Trust admitted that it had failed to follow NHS guidelines for monitoring patients referred to the breast unit at St Albans Hospital. Instead of arranging second appointments for patients who missed their initial consultation – as is required under the NHS guidelines – the NHS trust had discharged them in order to remove patients from their books.

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Hospital Misdiagnosis Compensation for Cauda Equina Syndrome Error

A Leicester hospital has admitted that the misdiagnosis of Cauda Equina Syndrome by a junior doctor resulted in a patient suffering a life-long disability which could have been prevented.

The patient, 45 year old Michelle Chapman from Melton in Leicestershire, visited her GP in May 2007 suffering from numbness and incontinence, and was alerted to the possibility that she was suffering from Cauda Equina Syndrome – a condition caused by the nerves being trapped between collapsed vertebrae. Michelle´s GP advised her to look out for symptoms of the condition getting worse and to summon an ambulance if necessary.

Some days later, Michelle attended the Leicester Royal Infirmary where she was advised by a junior doctor that there were no signs of the condition and was sent home. It was only when Michelle´s GP telephoned her to follow-up the initial appointment that he heard of the deterioration in her condition and immediately booked an MRI scan at the hospital. The scan revealed that serious nerve damage had already occurred and that Michelle required an operation to prevent further injury.

Michelle underwent surgery to extract part of the discs which were pressing on her nerve, but the operation was too late to prevent Michelle suffering permanent nerve damage which has left her with numbness in her legs, incontinence and requiring the lifelong use of crutches to assist her with walking.

After seeking legal guidance, Michelle made a compensation claim for the misdiagnosis of Cauda Equina Syndrome against the University of Leicester NHS Trust – the authority responsible for treatment at the Leicester Royal Infirmary – and an undisclosed out-of-court settlement was agreed between Michelle´s legal advisors and the Trust which will see Michelle able to move into a specially adapted home and receive specialist medical care to help her adjust to living with Cauda Equina Syndrome.

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