Case study: delay in diagnosing cancer of the tonsil leads to untimely death
Michael died after the negligence of two GPs led to a delay in diagnosis of tonsil cancer. Michael’s wife Dawn was put in touch with the medical law experts at Hospital Negligence and her case was taken on by solicitor Nick Young. Although nothing could make up for Dawn’s tragic loss Nick was able to secure her £50,000 in compensation to help her and the couple’s children to cope with the financial implications.
Sent home from the doctor's
Michael’s troubles began when one day he started to suffer pain in the area of his left ear. The pain was getting progressively worse and the area affected was getting larger. Michael made a GP appointment at his local health centre and was seen by a doctor who thought the pain was due to inflammation of the saliva gland. He prescribed penicillin and sent Michael on his way.
Referral to a specialist
About a week later Michael returned to see the same GP as he was still in considerable pain and the penicillin had had no impact. The GP thought there may be a stone in the gland and referred him to a specialist ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon for a routine appointment.
However while waiting for the ENT appointment Michael’s severe pain persisted and a few weeks after he had initially been seen by the GP he returned to the health centre. Michael was finding the pain intolerable and it has spread to his face, throat and when he opened his jaw.
Further negligence from multiple GPs
This time Michael was seen by a different GP who thought that he was suffering from a problem with the jaw joint, even though he could move this OK it was just painful when he did. The GP did not examine Michael properly and simply prescribed medication and sent him on his way.
About three weeks later Michael was back at the health centre once more as his symptoms were persisting. He was seen by the doctor he saw the very first time he attended whose response was ‘what more can I do’. Michael felt as though the doctor believed he was a time waster and returned home. Again he was not examined properly and by this point, and indeed before, should have been referred urgently to hospital.
However, Michael’s condition was deteriorating and the pain persisted so a few weeks later in desperation he attended A&E in the hope that they might be able to find a resolution to his problems. However unfortunately for Michael after examination by an on call doctor he was referred back to his own health centre and a few weeks later he reluctantly went to see one of the GPs. Again Michael was fobbed off with medication for a joint disorder.
Several weeks later Michael’s agony was still persisting so in desperation he called NHS Direct and he was referred to a GP who arranged for him to be seen at hospital. An examination by an ENT specialist revealed a large tumour on his left tonsil and over the next few weeks he deteriorated rapidly and died.
If the two GPs who saw Michael on several occasions had examined him properly and referred him urgently to hospital he would have received prompt treatment for the cancer and would have survived. Michael’s family were left devastated by their loss which was completely avoidable if the GPs had treated him as they ought to have done. After Hospital Negligence’s Nick Young fought for justice on their behalf they were later awarded £50,000 in compensation to help with the financial aspects of Michael’s untimely death.
Have you also suffered medical negligence?
If you have also suffered from a delayed diagnosis of cancer, you could make a claim for compensation. Contact us today on 0800 014 7481, or fill in our contact form. If you want to read more about how we can help you please click here.