The family of Miss S approached Farleys’ medical negligence specialist Holly Barnes to assist them in a claim against a local hospital Trust following the death of their mother at just 50 years old, as a result of a delayed breast cancer diagnosis.

Miss S had a history of breast cancer and had previously been treated with surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Aside from her medical history, Miss S was an active mother, supporting one of her adult daughters at home.

It was established that Miss S suffered a delay in diagnosis of triple negative breast cancer.

A fine needle aspiration test had found cancerous cells in a lymph node. Doctors assessed the node to be residual rather than a recurrence of the disease.

Miss S was treated with extensive mastectomy surgery, rather than a local excision. No node tissue was removed during surgery.

Miss S was left with a significant wound and drain. Unfortunately, her recovery was difficult and protracted.

The wound never healed; it became infected and discharged. Because of this, Miss S was visited by district nurses on approximately 50 occasions.

Miss S went on to develop shortness of breath and a cough. A CT scan at the hospital showed evidence of metastatic cancer.

At this point, only palliative care was an option but this was delayed owing to the ongoing non-healing wound problems.

Very sadly, Miss S passed away from progression of the disease before chemotherapy could be started.

How we were able to help

This was a difficult, lengthy and complex case. We obtained expert evidence from a consultant breast surgeon, consultant microbiologist, a nursing expert and a consultant oncologist.

Following numerous reports, discussions, preparation and conferences, including the involvement of specialist counsel, we were able to evidence the following:

  • That Miss S’s diagnosis of triple negative cancer had been delayed;

  • She should have started systemic treatment some five months before she passed away;

  • The Trust failed to acknowledge that a persistent node after chemotherapy and radiotherapy is likely due to a chemotherapy resistant clone of cells and that other chemotherapy resistant cells had migrated to other parts of the body – in short, that they missed the spread of cancer;

  • Miss S should have avoided the mastectomy surgery and all subsequent wound problems;

  • Miss S should have lived for a further 12-18 months and her symptoms would have been under better control and she would have been more comfortable in those last months.

We issued court proceedings against the Trust and thankfully, with the evidence we had put together, the Trust admitted liability and settlement negotiations commenced.

We were able to settle the claim at £22,000 to include compensation for the pain and suffering of Miss S, funeral expenses, and to cover the financial dependency that Miss S’s daughter would have received from her mother.

Holly Barnes said:

This was a very sad and complex case that necessitated a close involvement with the family, counsel and the medical experts, particularly the consultant breast surgeon. I was so pleased to be able to bring the case to a successful conclusion for the family, in order that they can now have some closure and start to move on as best they can.

Contact a Medical Negligence Specialist at Farleys

Here at Farleys, we have a specialist team of medical negligence experts with experience in acting on claims for delayed or misdiagnosis. Get in touch today for a free, no obligation assessment of your claim by calling 0845 287 0939, completing our online contact form, or using the online chat below.