The Penningtons Manches clinical negligence has secured a settlement of £215,000 for a client who is now terminally ill following the incorrect diagnosis of her recurring cancer.
She 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 she has undergone treatment since that time, her condition is now terminal.
The team’s 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. Penningtons Manches were instructed to advise in relation to quantum but the situation was not straightforward as it was difficult to make an exact assessment on the impact of the delayed diagnosis. The clinical negligence team carried out thorough quantum investigations, which included obtaining condition and prognosis, care and psychiatric expert evidence, and then advised her as to what her case was likely to be worth from these perspectives.
This was a very emotive claim and required a high level of sympathy towards her situation. Fortunately, the NHSLA took a sensible approach and a settlement of the matter was reached shortly after commencing negotiations.
Elise Bevan, associate in the clinical negligence team at Penningtons Manches LLP, who ran the case, said: “This is one of a number of cases where the right screening and investigations for previous cancer patients is carried out but the results are either mis-reported or not acted upon. In this case, the trust admitted that its failings effectively lost our client the prospect of a cure of her disease. While we achieved a good settlement, this is a tragic case where our client was hugely let down by the hospital and no amount of money can turn the clock back.”