In January 2014, the claimant, who was 26 at the time, was taken by ambulance to A&E at Manchester Royal Infirmary after falling downstairs. A head and neck CT scan revealed an 18mm cyst in her right lung and in March 2014, she attended Wythenshawe Hospital for a recommended chest X-ray. The presence of a lesion was confirmed and she was then referred to respiratory medicine back at Manchester Royal Infirmary.
She was advised that the scans showed a cyst and further tests, blood tests and lung function tests were advised. She then underwent routine blood tests and other screening tests which were all negative. She was not called for any follow-up appointment nor were any additional investigations undertaken.
In February 2018, the claimant was again admitted to Manchester Royal Infirmary after suffering an epileptic fit while out walking. She had knocked out two front teeth as a result, only one of which was found. At A&E she was referred for a head and neck x-ray and an X-ray of the chest and abdomen to see if she had swallowed the missing tooth. The X-ray identified a 2cm nodule in the right upper area of her lung and another 18mm nodule in the left lower zone.
A CT scan via a CT guided biopsy was performed and in early March, a diagnosis was made of adenocarcinoma of the lung (lung cancer).
The claimant underwent surgery to remove the right upper lobe of the right lung and lymph nodes from the chest cavity for histology testing. She subsequently required four cycles of adjuvant chemotherapy. Sadly, she was then diagnosed with metastatic cancer and began drug therapy in September 2019.
Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust admitted negligence for the delay in diagnosing the claimant's lung cancer.
Expert evidence obtained for the claimant established that there was a 4-year delay in reaching the diagnosis and that had her cancer been diagnosed in 2014, she would have still needed surgery to remove the cancer but would not have needed chemotherapy and immunotherapy.
Had her cancer been treated in 2014, it would have been stage 1 and she would have had an 80 per cent chance of cure with no treatment other than surgery being required. In essence she would have been cured with a normal life expectancy. Now, she has a four year life expectancy.
The claimant's ability to work as a nurse was affected. She had been planning to start a family with her partner and she underwent egg extraction because of the likely impact of chemotherapy on her ability to conceive naturally. She suffered side effects of chemotherapy, as well as permanent bilateral tinnitus. Her drug therapy also causes fatigue, daily gastrointestinal pain and visual disturbances. She has also suffers from depression.
An early settlement of £1m was achieved which included lost earnings, her need for care and support and a substantial sum for the 'lost years' of earnings and pension it not for the significant reduction in her life expectancy.
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