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Negligence by GP reduced life expectancy of patient with metastatic lung cancer
James Hope’s wife, Carol Ann, saw her GP about back pain and general aches. Blood tests showed that something more serious was going on. Two further blood tests showed the same abnormal results, but her GP did not arrange any further investigations.
Carol Ann continued to suffer severe pain and was finally referred to a specialist orthopaedic hospital almost a year after she first saw her GP. Scans revealed that in fact she had widespread metastatic small-cell lung cancer.She died two months later.
James instructed Shoosmiths to pursue a claim against Ann's former GP on his behalf. We obtained evidence from experts to show that her GP’s negligence had accelerated her death.
Had she received competent care, a fourth blood test would have been done and she should have been referred to rheumatology. If that referral been made sooner, she would have been given a scan or chest x-ray. As a result, on the balance of probabilities, the small-cell lung cancer would have been diagnosed many months earlier than it was.
Small-cell lung cancer responds well to chemotherapy and if her GP had provided competent care, prompt treatment was likely to have extended Carol Ann's life by at least eight months.
The claim, which he wished to pursue in memory of his wife, was of utmost importance to James. However he also wanted an early resolution and accepted and so offer to settle for £20,000.