Jonathan Zimmern recovered damages for Martin whose wife, Laura, died after a malignant melanoma went undiagnosed for nine months.

When she died, Laura was aged 55 and had just celebrated her 28th wedding anniversary with Martin. They had two grown up sons together. We successfully argued that had she been diagnosed earlier, she would probably have survived.

In January 2005 Laura noticed a mole on her groin that had increased in size. She visited her GP and explained to him that the mole had recently grown and become itchy. Her GP urgently referred her for examination and she was seen at St Andrew’s Hospital, part of the Newham University NHS Trust, 10 days later.

A Consultant examined Laura and came to the conclusion that her mole was benign. In fact, he was wrong. The mole was cancerous and should have been removed urgently.

The mole continued to grow and by November 2005 was bleeding on contact and associated with a hard lump in Laura’s groin. She was referred back to hospital where she was seen by a Specialist Registrar in dermatology.

The Registrar carried out a biopsy of the mole under local anaesthetic and discovered that in fact it was a malignant melanoma (or skin cancer). Surgery was performed to remove the cancerous cells and Laura also received chemotherapy to treat secondary cancer that was found to have spread to her lungs.

Unfortunately, and not-withstanding the aggressive treatment, the cancer continued to progress and Laura died on 25 August 2007.

Laura’s husband pursued a claim for medical negligence against St Andrew’s Hospital and the Consultant who had originally examined Laura and advised that the mole was not malignant.

We obtained expert medical evidence to show that the melanoma should have been diagnosed in early 2005 and had treatment been provided then, Laura would have had a more than a 50% chance of survival The hospital never admitted liability but Jonathan Zimmern settled the claim for £170,000. The claim was taken on a “no win, no fee” basis.


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