Friday, 26 March 2010

NHS payout after mum misdiagnosed

The family of a young mother who died after doctors failed to diagnose her cancer has secured a six-figure pay-out from an NHS body.

Lavinia Bletchly, a 23-year-old mother of two, was sent home from hospital three times before she died of the aggressive cancer.

A High Court judge approved an out-of-court settlement with Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board, part of which will compensate her daughters Shaila, nine, and six-year-old Chloe.

Miss Bletchly, of Bridgend, south Wales, died from peritonitis and malignant non-Hodgkin lymphoma. A full-time textile design student at the University of Wales Institute Cardiff, she fell ill in May 2004 a few months after Chloe's birth.

Examinations during the next eight months ruled out gynaecological problems, but she continued to complain of pain in her abdomen and pelvis. In February 2005 an ultrasound revealed a cyst and an exploratory operation found fluid above the liver. Over the next three weeks she was admitted three times to the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend.

On one occasion her family said a senior consultant told her it was "all in her head" and that she should make way for urgent cases. In March 2005 a CT scan and further surgery found an extensive malignant tumour had encased her bowel and spread to her stomach. It is understood the family will receive about £350,000.
Source: The Metro


Macheath said...

Doubtless 'lessons will be learned' from this very public settlement. I worry, however, that there are many such cases which never make it to court, allowing those responsible to escape enquiry.

My parents both had cancer which escaped detection for up to two years before diagnosis. Each of them voiced specific concerns to a GP for months before being - grudgingly - given basic tests. One survived, thanks to emergency surgery, but one did not.

Their decision not to take legal action, despite being advised that they had strong cases, was based on the fact that there were no dependent children involved and that complicating the final few months of life with court cases and legal fees was not going to help anyone.

They did, however, write a strongly worded leter to the health authority which has, to date, produced no response at all.

Will lessons be learned from their situation or will the consultants and GPs involved simply carry on until a public case arises?

youngwill said...

Sadly, Macheath is correct "there are many such cases which never make it to court".
I had déjà vu when reading Marks post. The loss of my Partner 5 years ago is identical, except for her age and diagnosis.
I'll always be indebted to Dr Liz for supporting me with her expert opinion, currently before both the Legal Services Ombudsman and the PHO.
Before initiating the National Death Sentence complaints system I tried seeking legal representation by supplying 317 medical notes to the London office of one of UK's largest "prestige firm of solicitors".
Because I had the sense to scan them all before parting with them, I did not realise until 18 months later, when I accidentally deleted one from the hard-drive, that they had only returned 200 of the notes.

My partner's death certificate only states "Metastatic Lung Carcinoma" as her cause of death and, after 4 years, the Healthcare Commissions "clinical expert" deems, "none of the CXR's supplied by the Trust show any signs of Lung Cancer.
Therefore, although my experience merits legal action, it will fail, because my partner was 63, with no dependents and a shorter life expectancy.