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Successful settlement following failure to diagnose and treat squamous cell cancer

Daughters receive compensation after mother's fatal cancer missed

Photo: istock

24 January 2011

Alison Millar has settled a claim for clinical negligence against an NHS Foundation Trust on behalf of the three daughters of a woman who tragically died in September 2006 of aggressive squamous cell cancer arising from non-healing wounds in her perineal region, which there had been repeated failures over a long period of time to investigate.

The woman was born with spina bifida and had a complex medical history, including a kidney transplant, but she led an active life and played a huge role in the lives of her daughters and granddaughters.

From early 2002, the woman was seen in various clinics at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital as a result of recurrent sinuses which did not heal despite courses of antibiotics. Whilst the various specialists were seeing her, her sinus problems worsened considerably.

The sinuses fistulated and she developed further openings and ulcers which caused her terrible pain. Despite repeated appointments and admissions to hospital, squamous cell cancer was only diagnosed in May 2006, less than five months before the woman died.  This was too late for her to be given curative treatment.
Alison Millar obtained expert evidence that the woman’s treatment had not been acceptable and legal proceedings were started.  In their defence, the NHS Foundation Trust admitted that there had been a failure to take biopsies of the wounds during an 18-month period between December 2003 and June 2005.

Negotiations commenced and Alison Millar settled the case for a substantial five-figure sum on behalf of the woman’s three surviving daughters.

Alison Millar commented:

"This was a tragic case where my clients' mother regularly attended hospital but was truly passed from pillar to post.  My clients are pleased that in the end an open admission was made that this was not acceptable and investigations should have been performed."

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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