Case studies

Delay in diagnosis of recurrence of breast cancer

We secured a settlement of £215,000 for a client who is now terminally ill following the incorrect diagnosis of her recurring cancer.

Our client had a history of breast cancer but had been successfully treated and was kept under careful review and screening at Frimley Park Hospital in case of recurrence. The claim arose from the negligent reporting of a histological sample of breast tissue in June 2009 which was reported as being normal when it should have been reported as showing cancer. Had it been correctly reported, surgery and chemotherapy should have followed promptly and, as the cancer had not spread at that time, it would have been curable. In fact, the diagnosis of the recurrence was delayed until further testing in June 2010 by which time the cancer had spread and the opportunity to affect a cure had been lost. While our client has undergone treatment since that time, her condition is now terminal.

Our client went through the complaints process and the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) confirmed that the claim was admitted on behalf of the Trust and that unacceptable failures had taken place. We were instructed to advise in relation to quantum but the situation was not as straightforward as we initially thought as it was difficult to make an exact assessment on the impact of the delayed diagnosis. We carried out thorough quantum investigations, which included obtaining condition and prognosis, care and psychiatric expert evidence, and then advised our client as to what her case was likely to be worth from these perspectives.

This was a very emotive claim and we had to ensure that we were very sympathetic to our client’s situation. Fortunately, the NHSLA took a sensible approach and we were able to settle the matter shortly after commencing negotiations.

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Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP