Mrs P went to her GP practice in October 2010 with concerns about a lump in her right breast. She was seen by a Practice Nurse and asked a number of questions, but the lump was not examined. Despite NICE guidelines being in place that set out that our client should have been referred to hospital urgently, our client was simply told that there was nothing to be concerned about and sent on her way. Our client felt re-assured that there was nothing more serious to worry about.
However, as the months went by, our client noticed changes in her breast. She decided to see the GP again in December 2011, 14 months later. Our client was urgently referred to hospital. A biopsy, taken several days later, confirmed that our client was suffering with breast cancer.
Mrs P required chemotherapy before surgery could be performed. She then underwent extensive surgery by way of a mastectomy with axillary lymph node clearance. Following surgery, she also required radiotherapy. Unfortunately Mrs P lost her hair. After her treatment, she suffered with continuing pains and restrictions in her right arm and shoulder from the radiotherapy. These will continue for the rest of her life.
Our investigations found, that if the cancer had been diagnosed in October/November 2010 when she first visited her Gp’s, our client would have avoided the need for axillary node clearance, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. In addition, our experts agreed that as a result of the delay in diagnosis, our Mrs P’s life expectancy had been significantly reduced. Her chances of living for 10 years post diagnosis had also reduced significantly. Mrs P suffered a psychological reaction as a result of the delay in her treatment, which would have been avoided.
The Defendant initially admitted breach of duty of care (that they did something wrong) and following negotiations, accepted our causation case about the difference the delay in diagnosis had made to our client. We were able to secure a settlement of £180,000 for our client. This took into account; the unnecessary pain and suffering our client experienced including the need for more invasive surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. It also accounted for; the reduction in life expectancy, the loss of earnings our client experienced whilst undergoing her treatment and afterwards, the care and assistance that she received from family and friends, travel expenses, products to aid our client’s recovery and treatment for her psychological condition.