At three-years-old, the child was diagnosed with a Wilms' tumour, a rare kidney cancer. The tumour was discovered by chance after her mother noticed swelling in the child's abdomen shortly after her third birthday party.
The Wilms' tumour was stage III and had spread to her lungs. She completed treatment at the age of four and, on completion of her chemotherapy, a CT scan confirmed that the tumours in her lungs had shrunk significantly. But despite her excellent response to treatment, the CT scan also confirmed that some small lung tumours still remained.
The child was referred for radiotherapy to treat the malignant tumours that could not be treated with chemotherapy or surgery.
The referral letter incorrectly stated that the child's lung tumours had disappeared following chemotherapy. Only local radiotherapy to the kidney site was performed, she did not receive any radiotherapy to her chest and lungs. A CT scan confirmed that small pulmonary metastases were still present.
Medical follow-up throughout adolescence were largely uneventful. She was very athletic and enjoyed and was talented at sport. Unfortunately, she went on to develop recurrent sharp chest pains. A chest x-ray was incorrectly reported as normal and no further action was taken. She began to suffer regular episodes of back and chest pain. Eventually, an MRI confirmed that the tumours observed 11 years previously had relapsed. Treatment options were limited to palliative care.
Given the very sad nature of the case, Julia took pragmatic steps to expedite the case. Upon receipt of supportive expert oncology evidence, the parties came together at mediation to resolve the case. The defendant Trusts denied liability but a settlement was achieved for a substantial sum which will help to fund the teenager's wishes and practical issues such as care and equipment.
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