Clinical Negligence

Delay in diagnosis of thyroid cancer leads to advancement of disease and more intensive treatment

Jonathan Herbert, specialist clinical negligence lawyer acting for the claimant successfully obtained an out of court settlement to compensate the claimant for her pain and suffering, loss of earnings and assistance provided.

The claimant was aged 22 when a lump growing to the left side of her neck was investigated at Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Welwyn Garden City. Initially, she was told that results were benign but she had thyroid cancer which was not diagnosed for a further twenty months.

Had the initial test results been reported correctly, the thyroid cancer diagnosis would have been made shortly afterwards and treatment would have commenced that would have prevented subsequent lymph node involvement. By reason of the delay and diagnosis in treatment, the claimant suffered pain associated with enlarged thyroid masses and then shock and upset associated with the delay in the diagnosis being revealed and panic attacks. The claimant suffered with anxiety and sleep disorder before eventually being diagnosed with Panic Disorder.

Because of delay, and a change in cancer classification staging, the claimant had to have a different and more extensive course of treatment which brought physical and emotional symptoms. This treatment included a neck dissection procedure (resulting in additional scarring) and a larger (and then an extra) dose of radioactive iodine. During the prolonged radioactive treatment, the claimant could have no contact with her husband and young children.

Thereafter, clinicians identified suspicious residual cystic disease in the claimant’s neck. She therefore had to undergo a re-exploration of the left side of her neck. This revealed further cancer which necessitated a second round of iodine treatment. The claimant found the iodine treatment distressing and it made her very ill again. The claimant has an increased risk of recurrence of cancer because of the delay.

Jonathan Herbert specialises in delayed diagnosis cases. If you would like to ask Jonathan a question about a potential case, or if you have a general query about any personal injury, contact him at Thomson Snell & Passmore solicitors on 01892 701226 in confidence.

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