Surgery Admin Error Led to Mother’s Early Death

Posted: 18th March 2011

The High Court has ruled that a GP surgery’s failure to senPost Box in Walld urgent appointment letters to a woman’s correct address was responsible for her premature death from breast cancer, thus entitling her 16-year-old son to a settlement in compensation.
In 1999, the woman had visited her GP after she discovered a lump in her breast. She was referred to St Thomas’ Hospital, where doctors said that the lump was benign.
In January 2000, concerned that her breast was enlarged, she again went to see her GP and was told she would again be referred for a hospital appointment.
Two letters requesting that she attend urgent hospital appointments were subsequently sent by the surgery, but these were addressed to house number 16 in the street where the woman lived, not the correct address of 1b. By the time her breast cancer was diagnosed in 2001, the disease had spread to her bones and she died two years later, aged 38.
The GP argued that the woman’s cancer was probably incurable by the time of her appointment in 2000. The Court preferred evidence from some of the country’s leading oncologists, however, that had the cancer been detected a year earlier, she would have had a 92 per cent chance of surviving for another ten years. Furthermore, the Court found that no blame should be attached to the patient for failing to follow up the appointment. She had been given the all-clear in 1999 and may have been too busy or too scared to return to her GP.
If you are injured as a result of negligent medical treatment, we can help you obtain an appropriate settlement.