Sam Critchley acted for Graham in his lifetime and thereafter she continued the claim on behalf of his parents. Graham was not married and had no children.
Graham had found an irregular hard lump in his left testis. He underwent surgery to remove it at Medway Hospital in April 2006. He was referred to the oncology team at Maidstone Hospital for further management. At follow up in May 2006 Graham was told that the tumour was completely removed, that he was making an excellent recovery following his surgery and that a CT scan had shown no evidence of distant disease. It was recommended that he undergo 2 cycles of chemotherapy.
Blood tests were done in July 2006 showing high levels of a particular tumour marker. This meant there had been a relapse of cancer which required more aggressive treatment.
After completing the chemotherapy, in September 2006, Graham had a CT scan of his abdomen at Medway Hospital which was reported as showing no abnormality. In fact this was incorrect and the radiologist should have noticed new lymph node enlargement not present on the scan in April 2006. Medway Hospital failed to diagnose and report the presence of stage 2 testicular cancer. They admitted negligence in the course of the claim.
Thereafter, Graham was reviewed several times at Maidstone Hospital in 2007 and 2008. In July 2008 Graham developed swelling in his legs and he had started to experience lower back pain. In December 2008, Graham was reviewed in Maidstone Hospital. The doctor told him there were no symptoms or signs to suggest disease relapse. He was told to use regular Ibuprofen and cold packs to help his back pain.
In January 2009, Graham went to his GP complaining of heartburn symptoms with loss of weight, abdominal pains, sweating, backache and vomiting after meals. He was admitted to Medway Hospital. A CT scan was done which showed a large mass in the abdomen measuring 23 x 12cms in size encasing the aorta, and other major blood vessels. It also affected both kidneys.
Graham was referred to the Royal Marsden Hospital for treatment. He was diagnosed as having a relapse of his tumour. Graham underwent four cycles of second-line chemotherapy and more extensive surgery than he would have needed but for the negligence of the Defendants. It was not possible to surgically remove all of the tumour. Despite several more heroic attempts at chemotherapy, undergoing experimental chemotherapy and radiation treatment for spinal cord compression Graham lost his fight.
The Hospitals admitted that they failed to carry out adequate surveillance after the operation Furthermore Maidstone Hospital admitted that they failed to review the CT scan performed in September 2006 at a testicular cancer multi-disciplinary meeting and act upon the presence of new lymph node enlargement on it. Had Graham had the correct treatment in 2006 he would have survived.
It was clear from internal documents obtained during our investigation that staff at Maidstone Hospital identified, in 2009, that a mistake had been made back in 2006 in terms of the negligent reporting of the CT scan and inadequate chemotherapy but they did not tell Graham and his family this. If the claim had not been investigated at Graham’s request this may never have come to light.
Sam Critchley sent a Letter of Claim to both Hospital Trusts in September 2011. The NHS Litigation Authority admitted negligence formally in December 2011. They put forward an offer to settle in the sum of £90,000. Sam Critchley rejected this offer and entered into further negotiations with the Defendants. These negotiations resulted in increased offers of £154,000 and then £175,000.
The case settled in August 2013 for £200,000. Whilst no amount of money could begin to adequately compensate the parents for the loss of their son the award is regarded as a very high award in the context of the death of an adult child with no dependants.
"With the help of a very strong expert team with whom she has instructed to act upon our behalf we were very confident in placing our case in her most capable hands. It will be three years this January 2014 that our son sadly lost his life but with the help of Samantha our case was won."
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