Clinical Negligence

Publish date

20 November 2017

Patient dies after surgery for mis-diagnosed recurrence of cancer

Mr P was diagnosed with rectal cancer following 6 months of rectal bleeding.  He underwent surgery to remove the tumour and was subsequently admitted to ICU.

He underwent CT scans after 1 and 2 weeks which both showed a fluid collection.  However the trust did not drain the fluid collection and he was subsequently discharged after two weeks.

Over the next 12 months Mr P remained unwell.  A year after his surgery he was reviewed and it was suspected that his cancer had returned as a mass was seen on scans.  Biopsies were taken but these were inconclusive.  Despite this Mr P was told that his cancer had returned and it was decided that Mr P should undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy.  Following this he underwent a resection surgery.

Post-operatively Mr P was admitted to ICU for two days.  Unfortunately Mr P’s condition deteriorated and he went into multi organ failure.  He died 12 days after his surgery.

Mr P’s widow instructed Jennifer Waight, specialist clinical negligence lawyer, to bring a claim on her behalf.  Jennifer also represented the family at the Inquest.  The Coroner recorded a narrative verdict that, had further deeper biopsies been taken, his death may have been avoided.

Jennifer Waight obtained further expert evidence which found the defendant trust had been negligent in failing to obtain conclusive proof of a malignancy before subjecting Mr P to treatment.  If cancer had been ruled out a less invasive treatment could have been performed, which would have avoided Mr P’s death.

The defendant only made partial admissions regarding their failure to drain the fluid collection after the first surgery and insisted that the mass was cancerous despite the final histology result containing no cancer.  This meant that the claim was protracted and court proceedings had to be issued.

The defendant made an incredibly low offer and delayed matters by over a year, requiring significant amount of further medical evidence to be obtained.  The defendant maintained its denial of liability but despite this an out-of-court settlement of £65,000 was secured to compensate Mrs P for her husband’s pain and suffering and her sad loss.

Jennifer Waight specialises in fatal cases.  If you would like to ask Jennifer a question about a potential case, or if you have a general query about any clinical negligence, contact Jennifer at Thomson Snell & Passmore solicitors on 01892 701374 in confidence.

Heathervale House reception

Keep up to date with our newsletters and events