£15,000 for failure to diagnose lung cancer
Julie Crossley, a medical injury specialist at Ashtons Legal, has obtained 15,000 for the family of a woman whose life could potentially have been extended for an additional six months if her lung cancer had been diagnosed more quickly.Mrs H was a long-term smoker who visited her GP complaining of chest problems. She was initially diagnosed with asthmatic bronchitis and when her symptoms did not improve was treated further on the basis that she was asthmatic. After four visits to her local GP surgery, latterly to see the practice nurse rather than the doctor, she stopped going even though she did not feel that she was improving or that she had asthma. Just over a year after her initial visit, her symptoms had worsened sufficiently that she returned to see her GP and was prescribed antibiotics. Five months later Mrs H returned to the surgery, having found a lump on her neck to add to her previous symptoms, and saw a different GP. The GP suspected lung cancer and referred her to her local hospital in Kent who confirmed the diagnosis, and the spread of the cancer to her lymph nodes. She received palliative radiotherapy but died less than four months later.The allegation brought by Mr H and Ashtons Legal on behalf of Mrs H’s estate was that if she had been tested properly for asthma at the outset and this was proved not to be the problem, more tests would have been carried out and her cancer diagnosed. An expert oncologist estimated that if her cancer had been diagnosed 14 months earlier, she would have survived an additional six months even though the cancer would not have been curable.Julie Crossley comments: “This settlement reflects the fact that even with diagnosis 14 months earlier, Mrs H’s cancer would not have been curable and also the fact that she was in her 60s. The cases in which we obtain much higher settlements in cases of failure to diagnose are where someone’s life, or quality of life, could have been saved by timely diagnosis, or where their earning potential is affected by the failure to diagnose correctly.”£
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