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Case Study

Hopsital misses diagnosis of cancer

Edwina Rawson successfully pursued a claim for failing to diagnose liver cancer in a gentleman aged 67 at the time. The claim settled for £250,000.

In November 2004, Mr Jones' GP identified that he had an abnormal liver function test result. The GP referred Mr Jones urgently to Darent Valley Hospital, Dartford. The request marked 'URGENT REFERRAL' was sent by fax. Unfortunately it was not acted upon by the hospital.

In February 2005, Mr Jones had an outpatient appointment for an unrelated hernia, and an abdominal ultrasound was arranged.

In April 2005, the ultrasound scan was taken, which showed a tumour in the liver. This was followed up with a CT scan, which confirmed the tumour. Mr Jones was told that there was probably nothing to worry about.  The tumour was probably benign, but a further special ultrasound scan would be done just for reassurance purposes.

The further ultrasound scan was done in July 2005. The report stated that the tumour was 'highly suspicious' of cancer, not benign as Mr Jones had been told. Sadly, Mr Jones was never told about this result. No steps were taken to give him treatment. The result was, in effect, 'lost' in the system.

By chance, Mr Jones underwent a further abdominal scan in November 2009 for an unrelated problem. The cancer was spotted at this time, and acted upon. This was four years after the scan had been highly suspicious. Tragically, by this time, the cancer had grown so much that it was inoperable.

Mr Jones had chemotherapy, and subsequently underwent internal radiation therapy. He suffered complications as a result of the radiation and died on 29 July 2012, aged 74, leaving a spouse and grown-up children.

Edwina Rawson pursued a claim against Darent Valley Hospital. Claims of negligence included that the hospital failed to act upon the 'URGENT REFERRAL' from the GP, and that doctors failed to check and act upon the scan that was 'highly suspicious' of cancer.

We argued that if the hospital had acted properly, Mr Jones would have been diagnosed with cancer years earlier. He would have had surgery to remove the cancer, which would have cured him. He would have had a normal life expectancy.

In the case, the hospital admitted that it had been negligent and that Mr Jones would have had a much better outcome if the diagnosis had been made earlier.

The claim settled for £250,000.

Jeanette Jones, Mr Jones' wife has said:

"Edwina worked really, really hard to win the case. Not only that, but she was extremely sensitive and caring in her approach. She was very professional and we had complete confidence in her."

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