Medical Negligence News

NHS Trust Pays Compensation for Misdiagnosis of Breast Cancer

Posted on: October 23rd, 2014 by Medical Negligence

The West Hertfordshire NHS Trust has been told to pay £70,000 compensation for the misdiagnosis of breast cancer to a patient whose initial test results were overlooked.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman told the NHS Trust to pay the compensation for the misdiagnosis of breast cancer to a patient – identified only as “Mrs G” – whose condition was overlooked when she attended the breast care unit of the St Albans Hospital in May 2010.

Subsequent tests eighteen months later showed that the breast cancer had developed into a terminal condition and an investigation into the error by the Health Ombudsman concluded that – had the breast cancer been detected at the time of her initial referral – Mrs G could have made a full recovery.

The patient – who is forty-one years old and who has a young son – had to give up her job in December 2011 after being told that her breast cancer was inoperable and that she had also developed secondary cancer in her bones, liver and brain.

The Ombudsman´s report insisted that the West Hertfordshire NHS Trust make a “full and sincere apology” to the patient and implement changes to ensure the same errors could not be made again. Julie Mellor – the Health Ombudsman – said “This is a very sad example of what can go wrong when doctors and trusts don’t carry out the necessary and proper diagnoses and tests, and the terrible impact it can have on someone’s life.”

Samantha Jones – The West Hertfordshire NHS Trust´s Chief Executive – commented “We clearly failed Ms G and I have offered her my personal and sincerest apologies.” She added that the NHS Trust had already implemented the changes recommended in the report and had enhanced the training of consultants who deal with cancer-related referrals.

Only last year the West Hertfordshire NHS Trust admitted failing to follow NHS guidelines for monitoring patients referred to them for cancer consultations. Since November 2010, the NHS Trust had failed to organise second appointments for patients who failed to attend their initial consultation – as is required under the NHS guidelines – and discharged them in order to remove patients from their books.