A woman has won £50,000 in damages after a five year battle against a doctor who diagnosed her husband who had deadly bowel cancer as piles. Her husband passed away in January 2009. The couples case has been awarded the compensation after being recognised as a severe medical negligence cancer misdiagnosis.
The husband had gone to see the general practitioner in April 2005 who did a simple visual examination and did not look any further when the husband had complained of rectal bleeding. The husband left the appointment with some cream and suppositories. He felt there was nothing seriously wrong with him and he was not told to come back for another review. Had he been told to do so, he would have returned and a diagnosis of cancer would have been made in April 2005, according to the solicitors representing the wife.
However, it was not until June 2007, weeks after completing the London Marathon, that he learned he had rectal cancer. He then began chemotherapy but it was not enough to prevent the cancer from spreading through his body.
The doctor has said that he was not responsible for the man’s death as he would have died anyway even if he had had special treatment.
The judge for the case has ruled that had the man been treated earlier, he could have lived longer, even if it were for only a few more months. The examination, or lack thereof, done in 2005 caused a delay in the diagnosis.
The lawyers for the doctor admitted that had the diagnosis been made two years earlier, he had a 46 per cent chance of being cured. The lawyers for the widow have claimed that her husband could have been cured and not just live for a few more months. According to the oncologist which the widow used, had her husband been diagnosed in 2005, he could have completely recovered from the cancer.
The widow has made several comments regarding the case. She has said that the judgment acknowledges the failings of the doctor in this case that resulted in the early death of her husband. By the time he was properly diagnosed and treated it was too late for him to beat the cancer. Her husband had always felt responsible for his own illness but he has now been absolved of that.
He had to undergo some horrendous treatments so he could extend his life with his family but he lost the opportunity to be cured or even to have more time on earth just because he was improperly diagnosed.
Bowel cancer is the second biggest killer of cancer in the United Kingdom. Most of those who get bowel cancer are over the age of 60. Close to 16,000 people die from the disease every year, which is one person every half hour. With regard to these statistics, the wife had to say that it is important to be vigilant about the symptoms and signs of bowel cancer. It can happen to people of any age and if there is a suspicion of having the disease, one should question one’s doctor repeatedly and ask for second opinions.
Sadly, cases like this are being heard more and more. If you suffer from medical negligence, seek help.