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Mr Stevens (named changed to protect confidentiality)

Guy Pomphrey, specialist medical negligence solicitor at Minton Morrill, settled a Fatal Accidents Claim for over £360,000 in compensation acting for the deceased’s family. 

Mrs Stevens died as a result of a very rare form of head and neck cancer.  Our team of expert lawyers were instructed to investigate a potential delay in diagnosis of cancer. 

Mrs Stevens had presented to her General Practitioner on a number of occasions complaining about lumps on her head.  She was reassured and told they were harmless sebaceous cysts; however, because these suspected cysts were irritating Mrs Stevens (she would catch them with her hair brush) they were removed.  Contrary to wider general practice, the removed lumps were not sent to be tested for cancer. 

In the months following the removal of the second suspected sebaceous cyst from Mrs Stevens’ head she started to become more and more unwell.  Her General Practitioner eventually referred her to Hospital and after some further delay Mrs Stevens was sadly diagnosed with cancer which had by this stage spread from her head to her neck. 

Mrs Stevens underwent chemotherapy treatment and major surgery but unfortunately this particularly aggressive form of cancer spread to other areas of her body.  Despite her courageous fight and the love and care of her family, Mrs Stevens sadly died. 

We investigated what had happened and obtained reports from leading medical experts in General Practice and Oncology.  They were clear that Mrs Stevens’ GP should have sent samples of the two lumps removed from her head for testing and should not have just assumed that they were harmless sebaceous cysts. 

If the lumps had been properly tested, they would have identified cancer.  Mrs Stevens would have then received urgent medical treatment which, our Oncology expert reported, would have led to her cancer being completely cured with full life expectancy.   

The case was put to the Defendant GP in accordance with the Pre-Action Protocol for the Resolution of Clinical Disputes and his professional indemnity provider initially defended the claim.  We robustly responded and invited them to consider settlement which, after some intensive negotiations, was achieved in the sum of over £360,000.   

This compensation included a substantial award of General Damages because Mrs Stevens’ endured over 2 years of avoidable pain and distress from the misdiagnosis of cancer.  Other elements focused on the loss of financial dependency (salary and pension) her husband suffered because of her death and for the loss of services that Mrs Stevens would have provided to her husband and particularly her grandchildren.  

This was a particularly upsetting case because Mrs Steven’s died on the cusp of her retirement when she was looking forward to spending more time with her husband and family.  No amount of money could ever fully compensate her family for her death but it does provide Mr Stevens with financial security and reassurance about his income. 

Guy Pomphrey and the medical negligence lawyers at Minton Morrill only practice medical negligence law and have renowned expertise in Fatal Claims cases. 

More information about Fatal Claims can be assessed by clicking here and information about our team of expert lawyers and medical negligence found here.

Click here for information about misdiagnosis of cancer claims.