Our client, a 70 year old man from Hailsham, in East Sussex, died in May 2013, from rectal cancer, following serious errors at Eastbourne District General Hospital, the responsibility of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust.
Our client was referred to the hospital late in 2007, with an altered bowel habit and abdominal pain, following which he underwent colonoscopy in December 2007. This revealed a small tumour in the sigmoid colon, which biopsy showed to be cancerous, together with a benign polyp in the rectal region.
Surgery was successfully carried out, in relation to the tumour, in January 2008, the plan being to return and remove the polyp subsequently.
That plan was overlooked despite the fact that it is well known that polyps, left untreated, in these circumstances, carry a high risk of developing into cancer.
That is exactly what happened in this case with the polyp mutating into a 4cm tumour discovered at colonoscopy in May 2011.
Our client underwent radiotherapy followed by surgery, towards the end of 2011. Unfortunately, the surgery could not be completed, due to previously undiagnosed cirrhosis, and it was not viable to repeat the surgery.
Our client fought a brave and courageous battle with his disease which he ultimately lost at the end of May 2013.
The Trust, through the NHSLA, admitted liability, at an early stage, under the pre action protocol, whilst our client was still alive, and a substantial interim payment was made.
Following his death, the case was settled, on behalf of his estate and dependents, in the gross sum of £110,000.
Nick Fairweather, who had conduct of the case, commented:-
“It is astonishing that such a simple mistake could occur with such devastating consequences. My client, a former policeman, was a brave heroic man, who worked hard all his life, and should have been able to look forward to a long and happy retirement. Instead, his life has been lost prematurely, and he suffered greatly due to the Trust’s negligence. It has to be hoped that lessons have been learned and procedures put in place to avoid such a straightforward error occurring again in the future.”