Woman Awarded Compensation for Fatal Misdiagnosis by GP

A woman from Staffordshire has been awarded £50,000 compensation for a fatal misdiagnosis by a GP which resulted in her husband dying from bowel cancer.

Christopher Goodhead (41) from Burton-upon-Trent in Staffordshire died from bowel cancer in 2009, four years after his GP had misdiagnosed his condition as piles. The correct diagnosis of bowel cancer was not made until 2007 later; by which time the cancer had spread throughout Christopher´s body and was terminal.

After his death, Christopher´s widow – Melissa Cutting – sought advice from a solicitor and made a claim for compensation for the fatal misdiagnosis against the GP who had misdiagnosed Christopher´s condition – Dr Asim Islam of the Stanstead Surgery.

Melissa alleged in her legal action that had Dr Islam made the correct diagnosis in 2005, her husband could have received timely treatment that might have saved his life. Melissa argued that Christopher had been exceptionally fit, and this would have given him a chance of surviving the cancer had it been diagnosed earlier.

Dr Islam denied that he was liable for Christopher´s death; contesting that Christopher would have died “on exactly the same day or not significantly later” if he had been referred to an oncologist for a specialist review of his condition after the initial consultation.

With no agreement between the two parties, the claim for a fatal misdiagnosis by a GP was heard by Mrs Justice Patterson at the Royal Courts of Justice; where medical experts gave evidence on behalf of both Melissa and Dr Islam.

The judge found that Dr Islam´s poor standard care had probably deprived Christopher of four months of life, but his bowel cancer would have been the cause of death irrespective of when it was correctly diagnosed. Mrs Justice Patterson awarded Melissa £50,000 compensation for a fatal misdiagnosis by a GP and offered Melissa her sympathy.

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