We recently represented a client in a claim against Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust following a delay in diagnosing her breast cancer.
She visited her GP in July 2012 after suffering constant pain in her right armpit, where she had a golf-ball sized lump, and was referred to Kingston Hospital for a mammogram and an ultrasound scan. A consultant breast surgeon, who reviewed her tests and was made aware of her family history of breast cancer, told her that the scans were clear and that there was nothing to be concerned about.
Our client returned to her GP as her pain persisted but the results of her scans in July 2012 had never been sent back to her surgery. When she returned to the hospital three months later, the same consultant again stated that the scans were clear and suggested that her pain was likely to be hormonal. She recommended that our client took evening primrose oil for eight weeks.
By January 2013, the pain had become so acute that it was severely impacting on our client’s daily life. Her GP referred her for further tests and a scan at a different hospital. These tests indicated something suspicious and she was subsequently diagnosed with Grade 3 breast cancer which had spread to her lymph nodes.
Our client registered a complaint with Kingston Hospital over the delayed diagnosis. An independent clinical negligence investigation showed that the scans carried out in July 2012 were only of her breast and not of her armpit. She claimed that her cancer could have been diagnosed six months sooner if her armpit had been scanned.
Although the hospital trust accepted that there was an opportunity to diagnose our client’s cancer three months earlier, it denied that there was a negligent six month delay on the basis that the surgeon’s notes did not confirm that she presented with a lump in July 2012, despite the other evidence from her GP records.
We were however able to secure a good settlement for our client who is relieved that the claim is now over and hopes that it will prevent the same thing happening to other patients at the hospital.