Six figure settlement for Colonel after misdiagnosis of cancer curtails life expectancy and career | Fieldfisher
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Case Study

Six figure settlement for Colonel after misdiagnosis of cancer curtails life expectancy and career

Jonathan Zimmern was instructed by Colonel James Clover after the Friarage Hospital in North Yorkshire failed to diagnose a carcinoid tumour of his small bowel in July 2006. The misdiagnosis of cancer led to a delay in treatment of two years. As a result, the cancer spread to his liver and resulted in a significantly reduced life expectancy.

Colonel Clover began experiencing abdominal pain in 2006 and went to the Friarage Hospital as an emergency. Initial investigations raised the possibility of an abnormal finding in the liver but this was not identified on a subsequent CT scan and he was assured that he had no significant health problems. No further investigations were undertaken.

Colonel Clover returned to work as a senior Army Officer serving in Canada until two years later when he began experiencing left sided rib pain. He visited his family practitioner in Canada and blood tests were carried out which showed abnormal liver function. He immediately returned to the UK and was admitted to hospital. On investigation, the tumour and metastases were identified. He underwent surgery but was, initially, told he only had a few months to live. Thankfully, his prognosis gradually improved but he was told he would probably have only a few more years to live.

Colonel Clover instructed medical negligence expert Jonathan Zimmern to investigate his cancer claim. Jonathan obtained reports from a Consultant Surgeon, a Consultant in Clinical Oncology and a Professor of Neuroendocrinology. Jonathan was able to demonstrate that the ultrasound performed in 2006 showed an abnormality which was identifiable on the subsequent CT scan. The failure to diagnose and treat this tumour initially meant that Colonel Clover's life expectancy was significantly reduced. It was anticipated that he would have to stop work approximately 5 years earlier than what would have been the case with proper treatment; this meant that he would not be promoted to the position of Lieutenant General, which had been his predicted career path.

The Defendant accepted that they had failed to identify the tumour in 2006 which resulted in delayed diagnosis. However, they denied that this delay had any impact on Colonel Clover's life expectancy or career path. The case presented many complications as a result of the complex medical evidence and different treatment options that were evolving during the course of the litigation. The cutting edge treatment options that became available in the autumn of 2012 had a significant impact on the evidence offered by the various experts on both sides. Thankfully, it was anticipated that these new treatments would prolong Colonel Clover's life.

After gathering the evidence, Jonathan organised a meeting with the hospital trust's solicitors in an attempt to settle the claim. After much negotiation, Colonel Clover's claim was settled for a six figure sum to compensate him for his reduced life expectancy and curtailed career.­

Contact us

For further information about cancer misdiagnosis claims and clinical negligence claims, please call Jonathan Zimmern on 03304606779 or email


All enquiries are completely free of charge and we will investigate all funding options for you including no win, no fee.

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