Family of Cancer Victim win High Court case

A Maidstone family’s legal action against Maidstone Hospital was settled and approved in the High Court earlier today just days before a 5 day trial was due to start next Monday 18th July.Matthew Potts of Otham near Maidstone died of oesophageal cancer in December 2006, aged 36.

His widow, Kellie, continued the legal action that Matthew had started before his death, alleging that the local hospital was negligent in failing to diagnose the tumour.

Nick Fairweather, Chief Executive of Fairweathers Solicitors LLP, who represented the family, commented:-

“This was a complex matter in which three fundamental failings in care were alleged:-

Firstly, that Matt wasn’t seen and his symptoms investigated quickly enough when his GP first referred him to Maidstone Hospital in September 2003.

Secondly, that the Trust failed to diagnose the oesophageal / gastric tumour that was present when Matt underwent a gastroscopy in December 2003.

Thirdly, that the Trust failed to take sufficient heed of Matt’s ongoing symptoms over the course of 2004.

Eventually he was referred to St Thomas’ Hospital in London in October 2004 where investigations resulted in a diagnosis finally being made in January 2005.

Despite a brave and dignified battle with the disease Matt died just after Christmas 2006.

The Trust admitted the initial delay in treatment and that the tumour was present in December 2003 but denied that it was negligent for it to have been missed at gastroscopy. They also contended that Matt’s subsequent treatment was acceptable.

Ultimately the case settled just short of trial for an undisclosed sum which will be invested in trust for the family.”

Mr Potts left his widow Kellie and their children Tyley, now aged 21, and Jack, now aged 15.

Following today’s Court hearing, Mrs Potts commented:-

“Matt knew something was wrong and practically begged the doctors to take him seriously. He even specifically told them that he believed he had throat cancer but they didn’t seem interested.

We all still think about him and miss him every day.

I am pleased that we have finally got justice for him.”

His daughter Tyley added:-

“I miss and think about my dad every day.

It was hard growing up without him but I have always felt he is watching over me.

Jack and I are really proud of my mum in taking this case forward and feel that we have finally got justice for dad and that he can now rest in peace.”