£35,000 Compensation for Delayed Diagnosis of Cancer

Author:
David Thomas
Partner, Medical Negligence Lawyer
Date:
28/05/2019

A Medical Negligence Case Study - Client Situation

Our client was suffering from squamous cell carcinoma of the left lip – a form of cancer – but this wasn’t immediately identified by doctors. As a result, necessary radiotherapy treatment was delayed, leaving our client with a disfigurement and symptoms including:

      • Hoarse speech and dryness in mouth
      • Difficulty moving his neck to the right, as it was painful and pulled scars and muscles
      • Reduced ability to taste, rated at about 60% normal
      • The left-hand side of his jaw was painful and sensitive to touch all the time. He described it as a sharp pain that was aggravated by touch
      • Greater susceptibility to infection. This was due to the loss of his lymph nodes, and he has been forced to cover his neck to avoid infection
      • A need to eat slowly, as he has a tendency to bite his tongue and lip

Our client also had to undergo an invasive 10-hour operation, from which he made a slow recovery, and is self-conscious of his appearance due to his disfigurement.

How We Helped

After taking on the case, Clinical and Medical Negligence Lawyer David Thomas, assisted by our Polish speaking Paralegal, Joanne Ziobro, obtained expert evidence from experts in Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) and Oncology.

They were able to robustly argue that the failure to provide timely radiotherapy treatment resulted in disfigurement and additional symptoms that our client would not otherwise have suffered.

Partner David Thomas was able to prove that the fact earlier treatment wasn’t provided led to more invasive neck surgery, and left an unsightly scar which otherwise wouldn’t have been there. It became clear shortly prior to and during the NHS Mediation Scheme hearing that the defendant’s experts were coming closer to the views of our own experts, due in large part to the quality of our experts and the finer issues they covered in their reports.

The Outcome

The NHS Trust admitted that they should have referred our client for radiotherapy but denied causation of injury. In layman’s words, they argued that the delay didn’t make any difference to the outcome.

The case settled for £35,000 compensation at the mediation hearing. The fact that this case was referred to attempt settlement under the NHS mediation scheme enabled the parties to focus on the key issues at a far earlier stage in the proceedings and averted a protracted and drawn out case.

This was good for our client as it meant that he received his compensation sooner. At the same time, it also benefitted the NHS as they were able to settle this delayed diagnosis of cancer case and made a significant saving in legal costs. The NHS also provided an unreserved apology and agreed to take positive steps to learn from their mistakes.

Our client is Polish and didn’t speak any English, but Simpson Millar provided a dedicated Polish translation and advisory service under the supervision of Partner David Thomas. Simpson Millar’s Joanna Ziobro provided an invaluable service to the client as a Polish speaking qualified Lawyer.

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