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.”


Family Expresses Discontent Over Coroner’s Verdict

Posted on: July 19th, 2016 by Medical Negligence

The surviving family of a man who died as a result of undiagnosed injuries after a fall have announced that they hope to pursue compensation despite the coroner’s verdict.

On the 23rd May 2015, Patrick Byrne – aged eighty-seven and living in Melksham – fell in his home. He was rushed to the Royal United Hospital, Bath, where he was admitted for monitoring. After his admission, Patrick’s condition deteriorated and he began experiencing pains in his chest. Soon afterwards, Patrick found that he was unable to move his neck.

Members of Patrick’s family consistently asked medical staff to conduct a more thorough examination of his condition, yet no such examination was undertaken. Patrick was then moved to the Chippenham Community Hospital, though after another fall at that facility he was re-admitted to the Royal United Hospital.

Many weeks after the initial fall, a scan was carried out on Patrick’s neck. This revealed that the first fall and caused a compression of his spinal cord, which would account for his symptoms. Yet, despite this diagnosis, Patrick’s injury did not improve and he regrettably died on the 21st October 2015.

An inquest into the circumstances of Patrick’s death held at the Avon Coroner’s Court earlier this month. It delivered the verdict that Patrick died from natural causes, in spite of the advice of Peter Harrowing, a coroner who claims that Patrick’s death was the result of medical failings and a misdiagnosis upon first admission.

The family of the deceased have commented on the verdict, expressing their disbelief at the “bizarre” verdict. They have also indicted that they hope to pursue a claim for compensation for Patrick’s suffering and death.  Elizabeth, Patrick’s daughter, commented to the Wiltshire Times that “The standard of care my father received fell well below what should have been expected and, if the neck fracture had been diagnosed earlier, he could have had treatment which would have avoided the paralysis and his last months would not have been as distressing. The evidence was there. There were a lot of failures.”

A spokesperson for the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust has also issued a statement, claiming that “We would once again like to offer our deepest condolences to Mr Byrne’s family at this difficult time. We acknowledge that we did not always meet our own high standards of care on this occasion and for this we apologise.”

Ombudsman Finds Hospital at Fault for Wrongful Death

Posted on: February 21st, 2015 by Medical Negligence

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust have been found at fault by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman for medical negligence leading to a wrongful death .

When a sixty-two year-old woman died at the Imperial College Hospital, West London, after previous really discharges, an investigation was launched into conduct at the hospital by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. 

The investigation determined that mistakes had been made whilst the woman was in the hospital’s care, as a full range of tests was not conducted to help her diagnosis when she first visited the facility. The Ombudsman said that “avoidable” errors had been made, resulting in her early discharge despite inconclusive test results. 

The patient did return to the hospital multiple times, presenting with bloody urine and abominable pain. She was eventually admitted, though died before a schedules exploratory operation could be carried out. 

The Ombudsman, Jullie Mellor, was critical of the hospital. In her report, she noted that no attempt was made to treat the woman with antibiotics or to control blood clotting before the operation was carried out. She also commented negatively upon to the hospital’s procedures for handling complains. 

Ombudsman Mellor elaborated in a comment on the case; “Our investigation found that because of a series of errors at a hospital a woman lost her life. Her husband told us that he has lost his best friend just before he and his wife were due to start a new life together. We hope our investigation and the action taken by the trust will reassure him that lessons have been learnt as a result of his complaint so that others are less likely to suffer the same experience.”

Misdiagnosed Patient told she was HIV Positive Still Awaiting Court Verdict

Posted on: April 18th, 2014 by Medical Negligence

A judge at the High Court in Dublin has not delivered a verdict on a case involving a woman’s claim for her misdiagnosis of HIV.

When Michelle Kenny, aged thirty-five, attended St James’ Hospital in Dublin on the 17th August 2010, she had just returned from a holiday in Majorca. Ms Kenny was feeling unwell and, when an x-ray of her chest and an ECG had been conducted, she was admitted to the hospital with a suspected blood clot on her lung.

Just a week later, Ms Kenny was discharged from hospital, having been told that she was in the clear – but on the 6th October she was asked to return to the hospital’s Outpatient Clinic, where she would be tested for tuberculosis. When she attended the clinic, Ms Kenny was asked if she would give permission for a test for HIV to be conducted on her bloods. Ms Kenny consented, and the next week she received the results of the tests over the phone. \

Ms Kenny was told that, whilst the test shoed negative for tuberculosis, it appeared that she was infected with HIV. Ms Kenny was quite distraught, and believed that the prognosis was fatal. Further tests were carried out on her bloods, and though these confirmed that Ms Kenny was in fact HIV negative, she had already withdrawn herself from her social life and had suffered from shock.

An investigation was carried out, concerning the wrong diagnosis, and it was uncovered that Ms Kenny’s blood test results had been confused with those of another patient. When Ms Kenny discovered this, she contacted a solicitor and made a compensation claim against the hospital.

The hospital disputed Ms Kenny’s claim, saying that though an error occurred, Ms Kenny had not suffered any injury or loss because of it. They did not admit liability, and the case proceeded to Dublin’s High Court, where it was heard by Ms Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon.

The judge heard of Ms Kenny’s distress following the misdiagnosis of HIV, but she also heard from representatives of St James’ Hospital that the mistake had been quickly identified and Ms Kenny was promptly informed of the error.

Judge O’Hanlon stated that she required more time to consider Ms Kenny’s claim, and that reserved judgement until a date that has yet to be confirmed.