£100,000 awarded for delay in diagnosis of lung cancer

In July 2014 Mr B collapsed and was admitted to the William Harvey Hospital. A CT scan of his chest was carried out, which revealed a small abnormality in his right lung. However, this abnormality was not followed up. He was subsequently diagnosed and treated for pneumonia and likely COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

In September 2015 Mr B underwent a shoulder x-ray, which showed a 3.5cm tumour in the right lung but, again, this went undiagnosed and untreated.

A further chest x-ray was carried out in June 2016 which showed that the tumour in the right lung had by now grown to 7cm. This led to Mr B being diagnosed with lung cancer (squamous cell carcinoma) in August 2016.

By this point, the cancer was inoperable and Mr B was commenced on chemotherapy.

We obtained expert evidence which confirmed that the tumour was visible in the scan in July 2014 and x-ray in September 2015. The experts further advised that the cancer should have been diagnosed by November 2014 and had it been, Mr B could have had surgery and been cured.

A Letter of Claim was sent to the defendant, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, setting out the above allegations. The defendant admitted that the cancer should have been diagnosed by November 2014 but denied that the cancer would have been operable.

The defendant initially offered only £15,000 but after negotiations, the claim settled for £100,000. Although a letter of apology was promised by the defendant, this sadly was not forthcoming until after Mr B’s passing soon after settlement.

Shantala Carr, Senior Associate Solicitor in Medical Negligence acting on behalf of Mr B, comments as follows:

“This was a terribly sad case and one of the worst outcomes in any medical negligence claim. Although we reached a very good settlement in the circumstances, Mr B lost his life because of the defendant’s negligence, which no amount of money can compensate for. My thoughts are with Mr B’s family who not only have to come to terms with his passing but also knowing it could have been avoided.”