£300,000 Compensation after Late Cervical Cancer Diagnosis

Roisin Hulme, Solicitor
Author:
Roisin Hulme
Medical Negligence Solicitor
Date:
03/09/2020

A Medical Negligence Claim Case Study – Client Situation

We helped a man whose wife died after symptoms of cervical cancer were missed by doctors.

Our client’s late wife first began experiencing vaginal bleeding in 2012 and told her GP about her symptoms. She was referred to Salford Royal Hospital’s gynaecology department, where it was agreed she would have surgery.

However, the procedure was cancelled on the day it was due to happen. It was agreed it would be rescheduled, but this never happened despite our client’s wife attending a pre-operative appointment in 2013.

Our client’s wife saw her GP several more times, reporting further vaginal bleeding and stomach pains. A smear test wasn’t carried out and there were delays in arranging a referral to a gynaecologist.

She was examined at Oaklands Hospital in January 2016, and it was suspected that she may have cervical cancer, so she was referred for an urgent colonoscopy. She was eventually diagnosed with Stage 4a cervical cancer and had radical radiotherapy, as well as several invasive procedures.

Unfortunately, her condition couldn’t be cured, despite extensive treatments and she received palliative therapy.

How We Helped

Our client’s wife sadly passed away shortly after instructing our Medical Negligence Solicitors, and her husband asked us to continue the claim on behalf of her estate.

Medical Negligence Solicitor Roisin Hulme took on the case and obtained and reviewed copies of her medical records. Roisin identified a potential claim for medical negligence against both her GP surgery and the Salford Royal Hospital.

Roisin also obtained expert evidence from a GP and an oncologist, and their medical reports highlighted several failings with her care. Our medical experts believed the GP practice breached its duty of care by not arranging a smear test and failing to refer our client’s wife back to hospital for further investigations.

Our medical experts also concluded that Salford Royal Hospital should have taken a smear test during a pre-operative assessment, and that it failed to carry out the surgery as planned, or rearrange it as promised.

Our oncology expert stated that if these mistakes hadn’t happened, our client’s wife wouldn’t have developed invasive cervical cancer and passed away when she did.

Roisin contacted the Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust and two of the GPs involved in her care with details of our medical negligence claim. Following a lengthy investigation, the NHS Trust admitted liability (fault), and although the two GPs made partial admissions of liability, they disputed the claim overall.

Our claim also reflected how our client’s day-to-day life had been affected by the loss of his wife, beyond the emotional distress he was going through. Roisin believed he could make a loss of Services Dependency claim, because his late wife had performed many important tasks in the household.

After obtaining further expert medical evidence, a schedule of loss was prepared, outlining the amount of compensation we were seeking to achieve for our client.

The Outcome

We made an offer of settlement to the NHS Trust but this wasn’t accepted. However, our client was invited to attend mediation to try to settle the claim.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, mediation couldn’t be carried out face-to-face, so we worked with the NHS Trust’s legal representatives to set up mediation by using video conferencing.

This was attended by Simpson Millar, our client, a Barrister instructed on his behalf, legal representatives for the NHS Trust and the mediator. The legal representatives for the GPs refused to take part as they were disputing the claim.

Before the mediation, the NHS Trust’s legal representatives gave a statement, which said that since we were also claiming against a GP practice, it couldn’t be held at fault for the whole claim.

This could potentially have jeopardised the settlement discussions, so we had an open and frank discussion at the outset about the main issues. It was agreed that the NHS Trust would meet the costs of the settlement and claim any contributions they felt appropriate from the other defendants.

The mediation itself proceeded quickly as our client was deeply distressed by the events. We worked openly with the NHS Trust and a compensation settlement of £300,000 was agreed.

The NHS Trust also offered to give our client a formal written apology. This was very important to him, and reassured him that lessons had been learned which could help to avoid similar mistakes happening again.

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