Belinda suffered from a vaginal prolapse for many years and had undertaken her own physiotherapy and pelvic floor exercises.
In August 2000, examination confirmed the presence of a moderate cystocoele and a deficient perineum, as well as a rectocoele but no masses were found.
In March 2001, she was referred to the hospital and was offered a vaginal hysterectomy and anterior posterior repair for her vaginal prolapses. An ultrasound scan was carried out in August 2001.
Belinda was admitted for surgery in July 2002. At that time, an ultrasound scan was performed, which showed a right-sided mass in the uterus.
A histopathology report obtained at surgery on 3 July 2002 confirmed that she was suffering from an undifferentiated carcinoma invading most of the ovary. She was referred for eight courses of combination chemotherapy.
On 22 July 2002, Belinda attended the consultant and was advised of the abnormal ultrasound scan, which had been taken in August 2001. It was contended that no follow-up was undertaken because it was thought that she would be admitted within three months for a vaginal hysterectomy.
Understandably, Belinda became depressed and complained of a “smell of death” in her nostrils, being convinced that she was going to die.
Samantha Critchley acted on Belinda’s behalf. In response to a letter of claim in October 2003, the defendants admitted breach of duty in relation to the failure of follow up the results of the ultrasound scan performed in August 2001.
However, the hospital did not accept that Belinda’s condition had been made any worse by the delay in diagnosis.
Accordingly, we obtained reports from an expert oncologist (on the affects of the delay in terms of the progression of the tumour) and from a psychiatrist in relation to Belinda’s emotional status.
After the service of these reports, the Defendant made an offer of £50,000 in full and final settlement of the claim plus costs.
This was accepted on 18 April 2005. Most importantly, the hospital confirmed that it had introduced a new protocol in dealing with similar situations to Belinda’s.
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