Medical Negligence News

Claim for Misdiagnosed Melanoma Settled Through Negotiation

Posted on: January 25th, 2017 by Medical Negligence

An elderly Yorkshire woman, who was told that her malignant melanoma was actually benign, has been awarded a five-figure settlement of compensation for the error. 

Joyce Huck, aged seventy-two and living in Sutton-in-Craven in North Yorkshire, first attended the Bradford Royal Infirmary in February 2013 for a skin biopsy. Even though two separate tests suggested that the tumour was benign, Joyce was unconvinced and decided to visit her GP. 

After expressing her concerns to her doctor, Joyce was sent for another biopsy and was informed in December 2014 that the melanoma was malignant. Another biopsy was conducted in 2015 and samples were taken from the lymph node to test whether or not the cancerous cells had spread. Fortunately, it was discovered that they hadn’t.

Upon her recovery, Joyce consulted a solicitor and made a claim for medical negligence compensation compensation against the Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for the stress caused by the misdiagnosis of her melanoma. She also claimed that waiting to hear whether or not the cancer had metastasised caused a lot of anxiety to her and her family. 

The NHS Trust admitted that it was at fault for the misdiagnosis and subsequently entered negotiations with Joyce concerning a compensation settlement. A five-figure settlement was agreed, and the NHS Trust additionally apologised for the mistake, saying that it was “deeply sorry” for the stress inflicted upon the family. A spokesman added that “The care we provided fell below our usual high standards and we sincerely apologise to Mrs Huck for this”.

Speaking to her local press after the announcement of the settlement, Joyce commented that “At the time [of being called back to the hospital] I was not told the previous biopsies had been misreported. It was only when I was referred to a plastic surgeon for the growth to be completely removed that I was told the earlier biopsies had also shown cancer. It was shocking to think I’d been living with cancer for so long and it had been left untreated.”

Disabled Woman Compensated for Severe Brain Damage Sustained from Missed Diagnosis

Posted on: November 12th, 2016 by Medical Negligence

A patient, whose diagnosis of viral encephalitis was delayed by forty-eight hours, has been awarded a seven-figure settlement of compensation for the life-changing brain damage that resulted from the infection.

The woman in question, whose name has not been released to the press, attended her local hospital in June 2009. As she was  suffering from severe headaches, she admitted overnight on observational grounds. However, during her stay, medical staff were unable to diagnose her condition and she was discharged. In less than twenty-four hours she returned to the hospital, her condition severely deteriorated, and she was re-admitted as an emergency case.

This time around, doctors at the hospital diagnosed the cause of the pain as viral encephalitis, or swelling of the brain. But this diagnosis came too late to prevent any lasting damage. The patient sustained life-changing brain damage that has left her dependent on those around her for everything. The woman has a severely impaired memory and struggles to remember recent events.

The extent of her brain damage meant that the woman was unable to make claims for medical negligence by herself. As such, members of her family made the claim on her behalf against the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, who manage the hospital where the woman was treated. The Trust admitted negligence and paid the woman a £1.1 million lump sum of compensation for their failure to diagnose. This was approved at the High Court of London.

Judge Sir Ian Dove, who oversaw proceedings at the court noted that  “Money can never fully correct what has happened to the claimant in this case, but unfortunately it is the best that the law can do. She will be now be comfortable and secure for the remainder of her life, will be able to stay in her own home and to have carers around her so that she can live the fullest life she can.”

Barrister Alexander Hutton QC, a representative for the Gloucester Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, commented that “We are extremely sorry for the failings that happened in relation to the care of this claimant. The consequences for her have been very grave. I would like to pay tribute to her family. They have been unstinting in their support of the claimant in very difficult circumstances. We do hope that this compensation helps and we do wish the claimant and her family all the best for the future.”


Patient Compensated for Cancer Misdiagnosis

Posted on: October 2nd, 2016 by Medical Negligence

A woman, whose cancerous mole was misdiagnosed as benign by two doctors, has settled her medical negligence claim though out-of-court negotiations.

The woman, whose name has not been made public, first visited her GP with worries over changes in a mole on her foot. The mole had recently changed appearance and began to itch, though the GP told her that this was nothing to worry about and sent her home.

Still concerned with the mole, the patient then visited another GP in the same practice some weeks later. However, the second GP shared a similar opinion to the first, telling the woman that the mole was nothing to worry about. Neither GP measured the size of the mole, and the woman was never referred to a dermatologist.

Dissatisfied with both of these outcomes, the woman chose to visit a third GP in a different surgery. The GP informed the woman that she was unable to remove the mole, and after her offer of removing the top of it was refused, she referred the patient to a dermatologist in the local hospital.

At the hospital, the dermatologist conducted a biopsy and the section was sent for testing. Regrettably, the results indicated that the mole was cancerous. The patient then underwent emergency surgery to remove the rest of the mole, but the cancer had already metastasised. The patient is now being treated for secondary cancer.

The patient sought legal counsel and proceeded to make a claim for medical negligence compensation against the first GP she consulted and their practice. The claim alleged that, if the correct diagnosis had been made sooner, she may currently have a better prognosis.

Though both the GP and the surgery denied that they were negligent and disputed the claim for compensation, once they were threatened with legal action, their insurance company decided to settle. The woman has since received a six-figure settlement of compensation for her suffering.

Patient Compensated for Surgical Injury

Posted on: September 8th, 2016 by Medical Negligence

A woman, who sustained a severe jaw dislocation whilst undergoing surgery, has been awarded a six-figure settlement of compensation.

In December 2010, Amanda Walker (forty-eight from Knaresborough in North Yorkshire) tragically discovered that she had miscarried twins. As such, she needed to undergo an operation at the  Harrogate District Hospital to remove the miscarried foetuses. Upon awaking after the operation, Amanda discovered that she was experiencing extreme pain in her face and was unable to move her jaw.

The hospital attributed the pain to a condition with which Amanda had been diagnosed ten years earlier.  To investigate the pain, Amanda visited her dentist to investigate this diagnosis, who discovered that her jaw had been misaligned and that she had sustained severe tissue damage. A MRI scan showed that the extent of Amanda’s jaw injury was comparable with those seen in car crash victims. Amanda has been unable to return to her job in marketing because of the pain caused by the dislocation.

To correct that damage, a further four surgeries were required – including one that inserted an implant. The Harrogate District Hospital maintained that they were not at fault for the damage, though Amanda still chose to consult a solicitor. The solicitor, carried out an investigation which concluded that the way in which the surgical mask was applied to Amanda caused her injury, and not the pre-existing condition.

Amanda proceeded to make a claim for medical negligence compensation against the Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust. The trust contested the claim until very recently, but when they did admit that they were at fault, a six-figure settlement of compensation was awarded.

Dr David Scullion, the Medical Director of the Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, commented that “The Trust is pleased an agreement has been reached. We have apologised to Ms Walker for the impact this injury has had on her. We conducted an investigation into Ms Walker’s care with us in 2010 and want to give assurance that we have learned all we can from this incident.”

Blinded Patient Negotiates Claim for Settlement

Posted on: August 9th, 2016 by Medical Negligence

An anonymous patient, who was rendered blind in one eye after receiving a substandard level of care at the Cheltenham General Hospital, has entered negotiations to resolve his claim for compensation.

The negligent treatment was administered in December 2015, when the patient attended the Ophthalmic Department of the Cheltenham General Hospital such that medication could be delivered to his retina. This entailed what is described as a “routine procedure” in which medication is injected into the humour of the eye, a gelatinous substance that gives the shape to the eyeball.

However, shortly after his discharge from hospital, the patient began experiencing pain in his eye. It transpired that he had developed an infection. This severe complication, known as endopthalmitis and affecting the internal layers of the eye, is associated with intraocular surgery. For this patient, it gradually worsened until it tragically resulted in the loss of sight in the affected eye.

The patient alleges that the infection was the direct result of unclean conditions in the theatre in which the procedure was carried out. An investigation ensued, which revealed that there were many failings in the sanitation of the room. The sink was described as cluttered, and that dust had collected on surfaces all over the room, including the operating lamp. Additionally, the medical staff at the facility were found to have contributed to the patient’s injury, as it was discovered that they failed to adhere to established guidelines for the treatment. For example, they failed to apply antiseptic to the surface of the eye for at least three minutes before injection.

Upon discovering the results of the investigation, the patient sought legal counsel and proceeded to make a claim for medical negligence compensation against the Gloucester Royal NHS Foundation Trust for his blindness due to unsanitary conditions. The trust have since conceded liability and entered negotiations with the patient.