Negligence Ruled for Doctor Who Failed to Diagnose Breast Cancer

Cancer diagnosis failure leads to substantial compensation



A judge has ruled that a family doctor who failed to diagnose breast cancer in a woman who went on to die from the disease nearly three years later did act negligently.

Sharon Adshead visited the Queen's Road surgery in Portsmouth in May 2000 after finding a lump in her left breast.

The insurance worker was seen by newly qualified locum doctor Sarah Tottle who made an examination but did not refer her to a specialist. She also incorrectly told her the lump was benign.

There was then a delay of 15 months before Mrs Adshead was finally diagnosed, and despite undergoing treatment and a mastectomy, she died in January 2003 aged 35.

At Winchester District Court, Mr Justice Gray said Dr Tottle failed in her duty and awarded her husband Martin £325,000 damages.

He said that even though Dr Tottle's examination was "impeccable", Mrs Adshead should have been referred to a specialist urgently in line with Department of Health guidelines at the time.

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Alison Eddy, Partner at law firm Irwin Mitchell commented: "Having dealt with a surprisingly large number of cases where there has been a failure by a GP to refer to a specialist , we are only too familiar with the tragic consequences of a failure to make an early diagnosis of breast cancer."

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If you have suffered due to misdiagnosed breast cancer or a delayed breast cancer diagnosis, our medical negligence lawyers could help you claim compensation. Call 0808 163 4557 for a free initial consultation or see our Cancer Misdiagnosis Claims page for more details.