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GBP 250,000 for delay to bowel cancer diagnosis

A 50-year-old man has received a quarter of a million pounds after being left with health problems after his cancer was left undetected

Posted on 26 February 2015

A man known only as Michael, has received £250,000 in compensation after several planned colonoscopies were cancelled delaying a diagnosis of his bowel cancer by 14 months.

Michael was represented by clinical negligence solicitor Kirsten Wall after the delay in diagnosis left him facing chemotherapy, which his lawyers argued he would not have needed if the cancer had been detected earlier.

Michael’s mother, brother and cousin had all suffered from bowel cancer so when he noticed a change in his bowel habit, weight loss and bleeding he asked his GP to refer him to hospital.

Michael was referred to a hospital in North London where he was seen as an outpatient by the Colorectal Surgeon who told him that he needed to have a colonoscopy.  

Michael’s colonoscopy was cancelled as a result of “immense pressure on [our] endoscopy lists to accommodate cancer patients”.  

Despite Michael writing to the hospital to express his concerns about his family’s history of colon cancer, and despite the Consultant promising that a colonoscopy and CT scan would be carried out, this did not happen.

Michael instead underwent a partially successful barium enema which did not allow his entire bowel to be assessed, and for cancer to be ruled out.

Over a year after first going to his GP Michael collapsed and blood tests showed that he was anaemic.  His GP referred him back to the same hospital where a colonoscopy and CT scan were finally carried out.

It was confirmed that Michael had bowel cancer.

The 14-month delay in diagnosing Michael’s cancer meant that it had spread which meant that Michael needed surgery as well as chemotherapy.  

Michael now suffers from neuropathy in his hands and legs as a result of the chemotherapy treatment.

The numbness and weakness he experiences means that he has significant difficulty in walking, climbing stairs and using a computer.

Michael’s case was due to go to trial in February 2015 but the case settled with him receiving damages of £250,000.

Michael said:

“I am pleased to have received this sum of money which will help me live as independent a life as I can now hope for. However, it was never  about money.  It was always about getting the recognition that the hospital neglected me when I was at my most vulnerable”.

Leigh Day medical negligence solicitor Kirsten Wall said:

“We believe that had Michael had the tests when he first presented at hospital with symptoms of bowel cancer, it would have been detected early and the surgery and chemotherapy would not have been necessary.

“Michael has been left with a number of life long symptoms directly as a result of the delayed diagnosis of his cancer. The compensation will go some way to help him make the adaptations to his life that he now requires.

“It has been particularly upsetting for him as he has two teenage children who he now cannot assist or support as he could before when he was fit and healthy."