Tumour in Jaw Missed By Newcastle NHS Trust

Author:
Sarah Holdsworth
Senior Associate Solicitor, Medical Negligence Claims
Date:
14/12/2021

We helped Rachel secure compensation for more surgery to improve her facial scarring after a tumour in her jaw was missed for 2 years.

Rachel went to Newcastle Upon Tyne NHS Trust Dental hospital to have some teeth taken out and to be fitted for some dentures in December 2016. She was seen originally in August 2016, when she had an x-ray of her teeth and jaw.

In September 2018, she went to her GP after she found a lump in the left side of her neck. It was firm and painless and she was referred to the Head and Neck department under the 2 week cancer referral rule.

Rachel had an ultrasound and a CT scan that showed a 3.5cm lesion on her jaw bone. In January 2019, she had a bone biopsy of the lump and also a CT of her chest, abdomen and pelvis to see if the tumour had spread elsewhere. She was diagnosed with a benign tumour called a fibroma.

When the surgeon saw Rachel in his clinic, he had a copy of the original x-ray she had back in August 2016 when she had her teeth taken out. He confirmed that he could see an abnormality on her jaw, but that it was not reported at the time.

Rachel was admitted to hospital in July 2019 where her jaw bone with the tumour on was taken out and her jaw was reconstructed using some of her right calf bone (fibula).

Unfortunately, Rachel’s recovery was more difficult because of infection at the site of the operation on her leg. She had a large, open wound in her right leg for 14 months due to infection.

Rachel also continued to suffer from numbness to her face after the operation and restrictions on moving her mouth and eating certain foods, along with pain over her left ear.

How We Helped Rachel

Rachel spoke to Sarah Holdsworth about her situation and Sarah confirmed that she had a strong case for a medical negligence claim because of the delay in her diagnosis, despite the tumour being visible on her original x-ray.

Because of the 25 month delay in Rachel’s diagnosis, the tumour was much larger than it would have been had it been picked up at the time of her dental treatment. She also had to have surgery both on her jaw and on her leg, which would have been avoided if the tumour had been picked up in 2016.

We submitted her claim to Newcastle Upon Tyne NHS Trust and they admitted responsibility for the delay in her diagnosis.

Because Newcastle Upon Tyne NHS Trust admitted responsibility for Rachel’s injuries, Sarah arranged a Joint Settlement Meeting. This is where the NHS Trust and the lawyers get together to agree a settlement for the claim. This approach has a number of benefits for both side. It’s much cheaper than going to Court for NHS Resolution and means the claim is settled more quickly for Rachel.

The Outcome For Rachel

Because Rachel had to have surgery on her jaw and on her leg, she has scarring on her neck and on her leg, which makes her feel self-conscious. Her compensation will allow her to have additional surgery to try to improve the scarring on her neck and face.

It also allowed for the cost of annual check-ups, massage for her scarring, past care and travel to medical appointments along with lost earnings.

Her total compensation amount was £60,000.

Rachel is pleased that her claim is now settled and that she can start to get on with her life and get the treatment she needs to improve the scarring on her face and neck.

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