Skip to main content
Case Study

Harrogate GPs miss clear signs of bowel cancer in 48-year-old patient

Lindsay Holt has issued proceedings against two GPs at an NHS practice in Harrogate for failing to diagnose her client's bowel cancer despite his symptoms falling within NICE guidelines for referral

Around five years ago, Howard*, 48 at the time, attended the GP surgery concerned about blood in his stool and changes to his toilet habits. He was seen by a trainee doctor under the supervision of another GP. Howard was sent home with the advice that his symptoms were likely caused by stress but that there was no major concern. He was told to return if he unexpectedly lost weight.

Howard made lifestyle changes to reduce his stress but had increasing symptoms of urgency to use the toilet which began to seriously impact his professional and personal life. He went back to his GP surgery and was seen by two different doctors who again suggested his symptoms might be due to stress and advised him to come back if he started to lose weight. He was prescribed laxatives and advised to consider self-help books for stress.

In fact, had a 7cm tumour in his low rectum that was diagnosed following a referral for colonoscopy at the Harrogate District Hospital nearly 18 months after his initial visit to his GP. Biopsies confirmed an invasive moderately differentiated adenocarcinoma.

Following radiotherapy and chemotherapy, Howard then underwent rectal surgery to remove the tumour. Unfortunately, as a result of the delay in referring him for colonoscopy, the cancer has spread to his liver.

Lindsay's claim on Howard's behalf is that presented with clear signs of bowel cancer. The delay in diagnosis has massively impacted Howard's daily life. His long-term prospects have been affected.

The claim will include damages for his loss of income, care, aids and equipment and the costs of ongoing medical care.

* name changed


For further information about delayed diagnosis claims and GP negligence claims, please call Lindsay Holt on 03304606789 or email
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.

Sign up to our email digest

Click to subscribe or manage your email preferences.