Cancer misdiagnosis stories
Bladder cancer case
Our client, Mr P, was suffering from shortness of breath, so he attended the hospital. He was kept in for five days and was sent for a CT scan. The hospital gave him the 'all clear' and discharged him. Mr P then began to suffer from urinary issues, including pain and an increasing need to urinate. His GP referred him to the same hospital for investigation.
The hospital sent Mr P for another CT scan which identified that he had bladder cancer, which should have been picked up on the first scan. This resulted in a delay in diagnosis of a year. Mr P, unfortunately, passed away because his cancer had already metastasised.
We acted on behalf of his family to obtain a five-figure settlement in compensation.
Breast cancer case
Mrs B was diagnosed with breast cancer. However, it took over a year for her histology results to be given to her. During this delay, Mrs B's cancer had spread to her lymph nodes, and the tumour had significantly grown. This meant her cancer was considered advanced stage; therefore, Mrs B had a mastectomy, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. If the histology results had been available at the time of her initial diagnosis, she would have still had treatment, but it would have been a lumpectomy with the possibility of chemotherapy.
Because the cancer had progressed to an advanced stage, her case considered whether the delay in diagnosis had contributed to a reduced life expectancy.
Thankfully, Mrs B remained in good health five years after her original diagnosis.
Use of the wrong chemotherapy drug
Our client, Mr G, had cancer, and as part of his treatment, he had to have his testicle removed (an orchidectomy). He was referred for a further biopsy which indicated that his cancer had spread. It was recommended that he had chemotherapy using a drug called Bleomycin, but the side effects of this high-risk drug were never explained to Mr G or his wife. Mr G sadly died of Bleomycin Lung Toxicity within eight months of starting the treatment.
After his death, Mr G's widow asked us to act for her in a medical negligence claim. Her claim had two grounds: a lack of consent to be treated with Bleomycin and the wrong drug being used given Mr G's condition and age. Despite the hospital's insistence that Bleomycin was the correct drug, an expert witness disagreed. The fact Mr G was not given the details of the associated risks and the alternatives available amounted to a breach of the hospital's duty of care.
Although we can never compensate the widow of Mr G for her loss, we were able to agree on a compensation payment from the NHS to give her a little more financial security.
Testicular cancer case
Our client, Mr B, found a lump in his right testicle, causing him pain. He went to his GP, who referred him to a specialist to remove his testicle, a procedure called an orchidectomy.
The tissue was sent for analysis, and a pathologist confirmed that Mr B had testicular cancer, for which he was treated with chemotherapy. However, six months later, Mr B had a swelling in his groin; after diagnosis, he was told he had diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, for which he was treated with a different chemotherapy. Sadly, Mr B's condition deteriorated, and he died a year later.
We made a compensation claim against the NHS because a protein test known as immunostaining was not carried out when the pathologist examined the tissue from Mr B's first surgery. This meant that the wrong diagnosis was made, so the wrong treatment was given to him initially. Mr B only received the correct diagnosis and treatment when he returned to his GP with a swelling in his groin. If there had been no delay, Mr B would likely have had a longer life expectancy.
The NHS hospital admitted a breach in their duty of care, and the widow of Mr B received a six-figure sum in compensation.