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30 October 2022 | Case Study | Article by Lesley Herbertson

Over £200,000 secured in compensation for a delay in diagnosing breast cancer


Partner, Lesley Herbertson, and Solicitor, Kelly Charlton, within the Clinical Negligence team at Hugh James secured £213,000 for a client who suffered a delayed diagnosis of breast cancer.

It was admitted by the Defendant Trust that systemic failures were to blame for missed opportunities to monitor X’s breast health with regular surveillance mammograms between 2015 and 2017. As a result of the delay, X was diagnosed with an invasive ductal carcinoma in 2018 for which she required surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Hugh James argued on behalf of X that with appropriate surveillance the tumour would have been detected at an early stage and before it had spread to the lymph nodes. With earlier detection, X would have avoided radiotherapy and the toxicity associated with Taxane based chemotherapy. X’s longstanding and debilitating symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, lymphoedema, brain fog, memory problems, dry eye syndrome and muscle ache would not have occurred.

X’s physical and cognitive symptoms resulted in her inability to return to work and impacted negatively upon her mental health. Compensation was claimed for X’s loss of earnings, loss of pension and to pay for psychological therapy.

Despite a lack of agreement between the parties as to X’s level of disability and her residual earning capacity, the parties, having agreed to mediate, achieved settlement on 18 October 2022.

Kelly Charlton, Solicitor in our Clinical Negligence team who acted on behalf of X, commented:

We are so pleased to have achieved a positive outcome for X which acknowledges the pain and suffering she has faced over the past 4 years and the debilitating physical and psychological symptoms she continues to tackle on a daily basis.

This case is a prime example of how mediation can give a Claimant the appropriate forum to express to their healthcare provider what they have been through and the ongoing negative impact of the negligent treatment on them. X was also given an opportunity to address first-hand the steps that  the NHS Trust have taken to rectify the systemic failures which led to the delayed diagnosis, so future patients are not put at risk.

All names and identifying features have been changed to protect the privacy of our client. 

Author bio

Lesley Herbertson is a Partner at Hugh James and a leading medical negligence solicitor with over 30 years’ experience in dealing with catastrophic and serious injury medical negligence cases.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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