Success for Client Misdiagnosed with Terminal Lung Cancer

Glass beakers
2 minute read

In 2009 my client was told she had lung cancer, that there was no cure and she should go home and prepare her loved ones for the news that she had a terminal illness.

Except she didn’t have one.

Mary (not her real name) had a history of breast cancer which had been successfully treated in the past but it had now spread to her lungs. She has never forgotten this distressing day.

Mary requested a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis but was told this was not possible. She was given endocrine treatment to try and preserve her life and underwent radiotherapy.

For well over five years Mary went on living on what she believed was borrowed time. She should have been enjoying her retirement, but was instead wondering if each day would be her last. Mary – once full of life, positive and happy – was no longer able to enjoy her life and stopped engaging with her friends and family. She withdrew from her husband.

Then one day, completely unexpectedly, she was contacted by the Defendant, Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, to tell her the news that she did not have, and had never had terminal lung cancer. She actually had bronchiectasis all along.

The psychological effects of the misdiagnosis were profound. Sadly, Mary was diagnosed as having suffered a psychiatric injury due to the negligent misdiagnosis from which she would never fully recover.

Mary made a complaint to the Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust once she was told about their error. She actually went one better than a simple letter of complaint, and sent them a letter setting out the history of her medical treatment and her allegations against the Trust (the first stage of bringing a medical negligence claim). Their response was to deny doing anything wrong, and that was when Mary contacted us for advice.

With the help of expert evidence, I went on to secure an admission from the Trust that the treatment had been negligent and this had caused my client to be given a misdiagnosis of terminal cancer. Our independent expert was of the view that the CT scans were negligently reported and interpreted. Our expert believed vital sampling and biopsies had not been done – despite Mary requesting them. This only added to the injustice she felt.

Having worked closely with Mary in this emotional case over a number of years, I fully appreciated and understood the significant impact the negligence had on her and her family. We went on to secure a settlement of £60,000 in compensation. As with all cases of clinical negligence there is no amount of money which can compensate what has been lost but it does represent some justice for what Mary endured through no fault of her own.

If you’ve been affected by any issues similar to the ones discussed here and would like to talk to a medical negligence expert, please contact us.

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