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Case Study

GP negligence claim settled following 7-year delay in melanoma diagnosis

Jamie Green secured a £445,000 settlement for his client Mrs Wellington*, who suffered a seven-year delay in diagnosing and treating her melanoma. Her GP negligently failed to recognise that a lesion on her thigh was consistent with a presentation of malignant melanoma, and subsequently failed to refer her to a dermatologist for further investigations.

Mrs Wellington told her GP that the lesion had recently become darker and changed shape and was also more than 7mm in diameter.  All these are risk factors for malignant melanoma and mandated referral to a dermatologist under the urgent two-week cancer referral pathway. Mrs Wellington's GP failed to do so and instead asked her to return to the surgery if the lesion began to bleed. 

Mrs Wellington was reassured that there was nothing wrong and carried on life as normal. Following thyroid surgery some six years later, she noticed a sudden growth of the lesion and again reached out to her GP surgery. This time, she was referred to a dermatologist but only as a routine appointment and not under the cancer referral pathway and was finally seen seven months later. The dermatologist was shocked that the GP had not referred her urgently. Further investigations confirmed that she had developed stage 4b melanoma.

As a result of the delayed diagnosis, she required extensive surgery to remove the lesion and perform a wide excision to help prevent recurrence. She now has extensive scarring on her thigh of which she is very self-conscious. She also required a 12-month course of immunotherapy and suffered from side effects from this treatment. She suffered psychiatrically and developed an adjustment disorder with substantial depression and a cognitive disorder that has affected her ability to return to work full-time. Her life expectancy is reduced by approximately six years.

Mrs Wellington instructed Jamie to investigate her claim. He obtained reports from a GP expert and a consultant oncologist. The experts confirmed that the GP negligently failed to refer Mrs Wellington during the initial appointment and, if a referral had taken place at that time, she would have undergone appropriate investigations and the lesion would have been removed. 

The oncologist considered that the lesion may not have even been cancerous at that time, or would have been very early stage melanoma. She would not have required any more treatment and would have had a normal life expectancy. 

Jamie subsequently sent a Letter of Claim to the GP who, following their own investigations, admitted liability in full. The claim was then quantified and detailed negotiations were held with the defendant, resulting in settlement before Court proceedings were issued.

Following settlement, Mrs Wellington said:

"I decided to contact Fieldfisher after reading one of their case studies on the internet. At the beginning, I was not sure if I had a case especially as I had contacted three law firms and Fieldfisher were the only ones who returned my call.

Jamie took on my case and worked extremely hard gathering all the relevant information. He kept me updated and explained very clearly how the case was progressing. He is professional, well organised, knowledgeable, thorough and persistent which led to a fantastic result. He really is a truly nice person and I shall always say I had the best person to fight my case. Thank you"

*Name changed

Contact us

For further information about delayed diagnosis claims or GP negligence claims, please call Jamie Green on 03304606771 or email jamie.green@fieldfisher.com.
Alternatively

All enquiries are completely free of charge and we will investigate all funding options for you including no win no fee. Find out more about no win no fee claims.

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