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Case Study

£350,00 for cancer diagnosis delay resulting in permanent tracheostomy

Paul McNeil recovered compensation in a cancer diagnosis claim for Christopher following a delay in diagnosing throat cancer. This delay resulted in Christopher needing a permanent tracheostomy, which would have been avoided if an earlier diagnosis had been made.

Christopher had attended his GP with a long-standing sore throat and hoarse voice.

Christopher's GP suspected cancer and urgently referred him to the hospital where he was examined by a consultant who could find no abnormalities.

The consultant referred him to a speech therapist and indicated that he would be reviewed in the ENT clinic eight weeks later.

That review did not take place. In the meantime, a lump in the Christopher's throat developed and began to swell and his condition deteriorated. 

It was not until November 2002 that Christopher was seen by the consultant and a CT scan was urgently arranged.

Initially the diagnosis of laryngeal cancer was given. Christopher underwent significant surgery, which removed his thyroid, part of his larynx and left him with a permanent tracheostomy. He could no longer work as a carpenter. 

We were successful in arguing with expert support that the hospital were negligent in failing to follow up with Christopher within eight weeks. With proper treatment the surgery would have been carried out in early August rather than early December 2002. 

This failure allowed the tumour to grow and involve other structures in the throat.  Crucially, we received strong support that the permanent tracheostomy would have been avoided with earlier surgery. 

Although the hospital accepted negligence (the failure to follow up), it denied that there were any consequences of its failure. 

Proceedings were issued and the matter was fixed for trial for July 2005. 

The case settled in the sum of £350,000 with costs in addition a few days before the trial.

Paul McNeil conducted the claim using Legal Aid.

Contact us

For further information about delayed cancer diagnosis claims and clinical negligence claims, please call Paul McNeil on 0330 460 6804 or email


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