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Settlement for delay in lung cancer diagnosis

The Whittington Hospital NHS Trust pays compensation for delay in diagnosis of lung cancer

Photo of lung x-ray: istock

29 July 2009

Sarah Campbell, a partner in the clinical negligence department at law firm Leigh Day & Co, has secured compensation for the estate of her late client from the Whittington Hospital NHS Trust.

Our client had suffered from breathing difficulties since 2001 and was treated by her GP for what she believed to be asthma. In November 2004 our client, then aged 62, was referred to the accident and emergency department at the Whittington Hospital complaining of a tight chest.

An x-ray, ECG and blood tests were done but the results came back as either negative or within normal parameters. In June 2006, our client was sent back by her GP to the Whittington for another chest x-ray which revealed the presence of a tumour in her right lung.

On reviewing the November 2004 scan, the hospital admitted that there was a "small band of linear atelectasis, a small abnormality, on the right lower zone of the x-ray of your lung" and that "if concern had been expressed either through the x-ray report or subsequent clinical review then you may have been referred for further investigation." Sadly, by the time our client did undergo further investigation in 2006, the cancer had already spread and was inoperable.

The failure to detect the abnormality on the November 2004 chest x-ray resulted in a delay in diagnosis of approximately 20 months, during which time the lesion in the right lower lobe grew from a rather indistinct 2cm lesion to a 5.9cm x 5.4cm dense opacity on serial chest x-rays. A CT scan showed a well-defined mass with satellite nodules in the vicinity of the lesion plus mediastinal lymphadenopathy.

Tragically our client had died by the time settlement was reached with the Trust on behalf of her estate.

For more information please contact Sarah Campbell on 020 7650 1200.

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

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