Tragic death following incorrect cancer diagnosis and unnecessary lung surgery | Fieldfisher
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Case Study

Tragic death following incorrect cancer diagnosis and unnecessary lung surgery

Susan suffered from ANCA vasculitis, an auto-immune condition for which she had been receiving treatment for several years.

In May2019, Susan underwent a CT guided lung biopsy for a lesion in her lung at Basildon University Hospital. The histopathologist reported that the biopsy showed an adenocarcinoma (cancer) in the lung.

In June, Susan underwent an unnecessary lung lobectomy and wedge resection of her lung. She was discharged with a chest drain. The left upper lobe and lower lobe wedge was sent for biopsy. The histopathologist was not certain of the presence of cancer. The initial biopsy and subsequent lung lobes were sent to Royal Brompton Hospital for a second opinion. The histopathologist at Royal Brompton Hospital confirmed that neither samples showed evidence of cancer. In fact, the appearances on both biopsies were in keeping with Susan's known underlying ANCA vasculitis condition.

Following the procedure, Susan developed a bronchopleural fistula, a complication of the unnecessary surgery. Susan developed a severe infection in her lungs which exacerbated the underlying vasculitis leading to a deterioration in her condition.

Susan sadly died at home in December 2019 following an episode of coughing large amounts of blood causing asphyxia.

Following Susan's death, Michael instructed Nilam Patel to pursue the claim. Nilam instructed experts and prepared Particulars of Claim as a Letter of Claim setting out the allegations. The Defendant's Solicitors admitted liability in their Letter of Response that they had not obtained a second opinion to review the initial biopsy and had they done so, a diagnosis of ANCA vasculitis would have been made and Susan would have been treated for lung vasculitis and avoided surgery which in turn would have prevented her death.

The expert in the case was of the view that Susan would have survived a further 10 to 15 years but for the unnecessary surgery. Nilam was able to negotiate a six figure settlement on behalf of Susan's Estate.

At conclusion of the case, Susan's husband Mike said:

"We had known for some time before my wife’s passing that she had undergone unnecessary surgery, and she had made copious notes of her treatment with a view to seeking restitution. As such, upon her untimely loss, I felt bound to at least explore legal avenues to that end.

Having first approached another provider, and been discouraged by their apparent disinterest and insistence that I myself obtain relevant records and documents from the Health Authorities simply in order that they could assess whether my  case was worthy of their service, I was so impressed by the total opposite approach of Nilam Patel.

Nilam listened to our story, then took me through the process in a sensitive and professional manner, doing all the legwork in obtaining any records, keeping me aware of developments, sourcing external expertise, requiring my input very infrequently, but always allowing my involvement as I wished.

The Claim ultimately presented was very powerful, unsurprisingly persuading the Defendant of their failure of care.

When it finally came to offers of settlement from the Defendant, there was natural temptation to settle early simply to put the matter behind me, but again guided considerately by Nilam, a substantially greater figure was secured. We all know nothing can replace the loss of a loved one, but the settlement will allow me to help our family more than expected.

I am immensely grateful to Nilam and Fieldfisher for their diligent, professional and sensitive guidance and help, and would have no hesitation in encouraging anyone unfortunate enough to share a similar experience to seek the same."

For further information about surgery negligence claims, please call Nilam Patel on 0330 460 6801 or email


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