£100,000 damages to be paid for failing to act on cancer biopsy

In November 2008, our elderly client, Mr R, from Medway, was diagnosed as suffering with a basal cell carcinoma (“BCC”) on his anterior right ear.

An attempt to excise the lesion by surgery failed in February 2009.

In July that year, a further BCC was found on the left side.

Following this, Mr R underwent surgery to excise both the left and right BCCs at East Grinstead Hospital on 08.08.09.

The lesion on the left was completely excised but post operative histology showed incomplete excision on the right with a margin of 2 mm.

Despite this, Mr R was discharged by his plastic surgeon and his GP was notified that histology showed both BCCs to be completely excised.

Early in 2011, Mr R was referred back to East Grinstead with pain and swelling at the site of the excision on the right.

A recurrence was suspected and confirmed by scanning.

The surgeon involved in the case immediately admitted to having misread the earlier histology results.

Mr R underwent further surgery on 27.06.11 followed by post operative radiotherapy.

He has suffered consequential problems including cardiac arrest, anxiety and depression.

He remains under ongoing surveillance and monitoring by the hospital.

Thankfully, his long-term prognosis is good.

The Trust made full admissions of liability within two months of receiving our Letter of Claim and, at the same time, made a settlement offer in the sum of £100,000 which has now been accepted.

Nick Fairweather, who had conduct of the case, commented:-

“Normally East Grinstead is a first class centre of excellence for plastic surgery.  On this occasion, however, a clear and inexcusable mistake was made which has caused my client, who is elderly, a huge amount of stress, pain, inconvenience and anxiety. I truly hope that this hospital has learned lessons from this episode and that they can and will return to their usually high levels of service.”