Delayed treatment of facial cancer

Our client, a minor, attended her GP in 2012 due to a large lump on her neck. She experienced no other symptoms. Blood tests were organised and came back normal so our client was referred for an urgent ultrasound scan, which confirmed the enlargement of cervical lymph nodes.

Further blood tests were organised, which also came back normal. Our client was well, despite her enlarged cervical lymph node, which by then had been present for over 4 months. Her GP discussed with our client and her family the options of either a referral to paediatric surgery or to wait and see. The latter option was picked.

Another 4 months later, the swelling of the lymph node had not reduced and, again, our client’s GP discussed the options of either referring her to paediatric surgery, or to wait and watch. Our client’s parents were reassured that waiting and watching was a reasonable option.

Some 8 months later, our client was referred to an ENT specialist, who organised an excision biopsy which revealed that she had a facial tumour. Tumour removal and reconstruction surgery were then performed, and our client was treated with radiotherapy post surgery. She had to undergo a left total maxillectomy, fibular reconstruction and left neck dissection.

Our client suffered from PTSD due to the delay in diagnosis and we successfully secured an interim payment in order to organise psychiatric rehabilitation treatment which she was able to undergo as the claim was ongoing.

The claim settled out of court.