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Delay in diagnosis and treatment of bladder cancer

Medical negligence specialist secures compensation for family of late client whose bladder cancer was misdiagnosed and mistreated

Posted on 23 July 2012

Sally-Jean Nicholes, clinical negligence specialist lawyer, has secured compensation for the family of Mr S who died following a delay in diagnosis of cancer.

Mr S attended his GP in February 2001 because he was suffering with problems in passing urine.  Mr S was referred to Consultant Urologist, Mr Lewis, at Warwickshire Hospital. He was not seen until September 2001. Over the following  months Mr S was examined, tested, had multiple scans and urodynamic studies done. He was diagnosed with bladder neck dysfunction. Throughout this time Mr S’ symptoms worsened. In December Mr Lewis carried out a cystoscopy and took biopsy samples. Afterwards he told Mr S that he probably had interstitial cystitis (ISC). Pathology results of the biopsy samples taken indicated that there may have been a more worrying problem and recommended a repeat biopsy. This information was not given to Mr S.

By April 2003 Mr S’s condition had deteriorated further and he asked Mr Lewis to refer him to a specialist in ISC at a different hospital. In referring Mr S, Mr Lewis failed to tell the Consultant about the pathology results from the December 2002 biopsy test.

In July 2003 Mr S was seen by the Consultant with a special interest in ISC at a different hospital. The Consultant immediately diagnosed that Mr S did not have ISC and started further investigations. Mr S’s symptoms continued to worsen. Finally, in March 2004, Mr S underwent another cystoscopy which led to the diagnosis of cancer of the bladder. The cancer was aggressive, and as the earlier signs of it had been undiagnosed and untreated, it had spread and was by this time incurable. Mr S underwent treatment (including chemotherapy) to alleviate his symptoms. He died at his home, cared for by his family in September 2005.

Sally-Jean obtained  independent medical expert evidence which supported the claim that if Mr Lewis had treated Mr S correctly, the cancer would have been diagnosed, and that treatment started then would have cured the disease, and Mr S would have been able to continue working and enjoying his active lifestyle. 

Mr S left a wife and two young children. He worked in construction management and was a prominent member of his local community undertaking charitable work on a voluntary basis. The claim settled for a six-figure sum the majority of which made up of the loss of financial dependency on Mr S’s loss of earnings.

The South Warwickshire General Hospitals NHS Trust admitted liability and apologised to the family for the failings in the care Mr S received.