Last updated on August 29th, 2017 at 10:02 am
In February 2008, Ms P, who had suffered from psoriasis for many years, got a small bramble thorn stuck in the lower part of her right calf whilst out walking. Over the following weeks an ulcer developed around the area. By May/June 2008 it hadn’t healed and had grown in size so she visited her GP. She was treated with dressings and the ulcer improved and healed, leaving a tiny white scar. However, the ulcer returned and by January 2009 it had grown to the size of a 5 pence piece. Ms P visited her GP again and the ulcer was then dressed weekly by nurses who tried a variety of treatments. Nothing really worked and the ulcer became painful.
Referral to dermatologist but cancer is not diagnosed
The ulcer continued to grow and be painful and Ms P was referred to a dermatologist who she saw at Chesterfield Royal Hospital in December 2009, when the ulcer was said to be 7cm x 5cm in size. Cancer wasn’t diagnosed at that time and she was discharged to her GP and continued to receive topical treatments.
Ms P continued to attend her GP for treatment, but by March 2010 the ulcer had become much worse and she was referred back to Chesterfield Royal Hospital. When she attended the hospital in June 2010 the ulcer was around 15cm in diameter and a biopsy was performed.
Cancer in the leg diagnosed
Whilst waiting to attend hospital the following week, Ms P was walking her dogs and noticed blood pouring from her leg in 3 different places. She called an ambulance and was taken to A & E and then to the dermatology department. She was told the biopsy had revealed cancer in her leg and that debridement (removal of the damaged tissue) and a skin graft at Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital would be the best options.
Lymphedema due to delay in diagnosing cancer
Ms P underwent surgery to remove the ulcer and surrounding tissue in August 2010. She lost a significant part of the flesh and muscle on her leg. After the operation, in October 2010, an ultrasound scan revealed the presence of swelling in three lymph nodes in Ms P’s groin that were thought to be cancerous. A further operation removed the lymph nodes from her groin and lower abdomen and left her with a significant scar from the top of her right leg to close to her tummy button. As a result of that operation, Ms P now suffers from lymphedema in her right leg.
Ms P started a course of radiotherapy, but had to stop due to concerns about the effect on the skin graft. She had been left with lumpiness in her leg and it wasn’t clear initially whether this was scar tissue or further cancer. She was told that if it was cancer, her leg may have to be amputated. Fortunately it was not cancer.
Delay in diagnosing cancer has life changing effects
As a result of the delay in diagnosing the cancer, Ms P has suffered immensely. She has been unable to continue with her office work, has had to change her car to an automatic and her busy domestic and social life has suffered. Her mobility has been adversely affected and she has to wear compressive hosiery daily to help with the lymphedema. She has lost so much soft padding on the shin that it has been left more prone to fracture and trauma. The area of the skin graft has also been left more vulnerable. She relies on her family for a lot of help now. She now has attacks of cellulitis.
Graysons pursues medical negligence compensation claim
As a result of the delayed diagnosis, Ms P will continue to suffer and has lost her independence, being left dependent upon family. Extremely unhappy with this and the way she had been treated, and convinced that she would not have suffered so much had the cancer been detected earlier, Ms P contacted Graysons to see if she could make a claim of medical negligence compensation.
Graysons took extensive medical advice and then pursued a claim against Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, claiming that:
- Diagnosis would have been made within 2 weeks of referral and the tumour removed shortly afterwards if Ms P had been referred to hospital for investigation in April 2009 when she was examined by her GP. This would have meant that the tumour would have:
- been smaller and would not have infiltrated the deep fascia
- not resulted in a split skin graft as the reduced size of the tumour and wide local excision would have meant that less tissue was removed
- Post-operative radiotherapy could have been avoided as a consequence of the complete removal of the tumour
- The cancer would not have spread to the lymph nodes and so the groin operation would not have been required, meaning that lymphedema would not have
- The risk of local recurrence would have been significantly
Our expert medical negligence lawyers reached a final settlement £300,000 for Ms P.
Our clinical negligence department said:
“Whilst the damage caused by the negligence of the hospital can never be undone, the settlement achieved will provide financial security for Ms P, ensuring that any care needs will be met.”
How can Graysons help with a delay in diagnosing cancer?
A delay in diagnosing your cancer can mean more extensive treatment such as surgery, radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy that may otherwise have been avoided. At Graysons we understand that more extensive treatment can cause severe financial hardship; affecting not just you but the whole family.
Graysons’ medical negligence team is recognised for its expertise in handling claims relating to the delay in diagnosing cancer. If you instruct us to deal with your case, we will liaise with a team of specialist experts who will help us to secure a financial settlement for you that will provide both financial security and a care package ensuring that your life-long care needs will be met.
You can find out more about medical negligence claims relating to the failure to diagnose, delay in diagnosing and misdiagnosis of cancer on our web pages.