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Case Study

Settlement for family after late diagnosis of colon cancer results in death

Richard Earle settled a cancer diagnosis claim for Boris' family following a delay in diagnosing colonic cancer which ultimately caused his death as by the time it was diagnosed the cancer had spread.

Boris died in February 2003 at the age of 47. He had previously suffered from colitis, which gave rise to an increased risk of bowel cancer.

Although his condition was monitored by the hospital, it failed to take adequate biopsies in December 1998. As a result, the hospital missed the development of colonic cancer.

The cancer should have been diagnosed in early 1999 but was not diagnosed until January 2001.

Sadly at this point the cancer had spread and was incurable. We alleged that with a timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment, Boris’ condition was treatable and that he probably would have survived.

The effect of the negligence was not only to result in Boris’ death but also the illness forced him to give up work. His quality of life diminished and this impacted on his wife and two sons who had depended on him emotionally and financially.

We acted for Boris' wife and sons, then aged 15 and 20 in a cancer diagnosis claim against the hospital.

Richard obtained expert evidence from doctors specialising in gastroenterology, colorectal surgery, oncology and histopathology.

All of our experts supported the claim and highlighted the defendant’s failures.

Surprisingly, the hospital defended the claim on the grounds that the deceased was properly treated and that he had an aggressive form of cancer which was incurable in any event.

The case was listed for trial in June 2007 but was settled shortly before then for £215,000 together with costs.

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