Heartbroken Mum Vows Son’s Death ‘Won’t Be In Vain’

Lawyer Calls For Regular Checks Of GP Skills To Save Lives

20.03.2011

A grieving mum is calling on the NHS to prevent needless tragedies by regularly checking doctors are fit to practice after a catalogue of mistakes by her family doctor including failure to recognise well-known cancer warning signs contributed to her son’s death.

Jordan Terry, from Erith, in Bexley, Kent, lost his battle against cancer in January 2009 aged just 23 after his GP failed to diagnose and properly treat a mole in its early stages, which developed into malignant melanoma that eventually spread to his groin, lymph system and bones.

Following her ‘heartbreaking’ loss, Jordan’s mother, 51-year-old Karyn Terry , called on medical negligence experts at Irwin Mitchell for help and has today spoken out saying that, although no amount of money will ever make up for what she’s lost, her family can begin to try and rebuild their lives having secured an element of justice for Jordan.

Rebecca Cherry, Clinical negligence solicitor at Irwin Mitchell successfully represented the family, securing them a substantial out of court settlement in May last year from the Medical and Dental Defence Union Of Scotland (MDDUS) who represented Jordan’s GP.

In their response to the action brought against their member, the MDDUS accepted there was a failure to recognise a malignant melanoma, and to refer Jordan appropriately, which impacted on his life expectancy.  Rebecca says she is pleased to have helped the family get an element of closure but is calling for the NHS to provide assurance that a similar tragedy won’t happen again.
 
“This is an extremely tragic case. Mr Terry was a young man in the prime of his life, looking forward to a future with his girlfriend, but it was cruelly snatched from him following a chain of errors which ultimately led to his premature death. Although the settlement will not bring Jordan back, I hope it will help his family to get an element of closure so they can try to move on and rebuild their lives.

“To get full closure, the family need assurances that a tragedy like this won’t happen again and that steps are being taken to regularly assess doctors, throughout their careers, to make sure they’re fit to practice in the interests of patient safety and saving lives.

“Jordan was not treated by a GP new to the field, but by an experienced family doctor who had been practicing for many years, which demonstrates that regular reviews of GPs are essential for new and experienced doctors alike.

“So many of the cases we deal with emerge as a result of errors that are avoidable, and it is time that lessons are learnt and that steps are taken to help prevent any further terrible tragedies such as those seen in Jordan’s case.”

Jordan was just 19 and working on a construction site when he first became concerned about a mole on his lower back after seeing a poster in the site toilets giving advice on what to do if a mole was itching, bleeding, had changed colour or shape.

The advice prompted Jordan to visit his doctor in July 2005 but he was advised it was fine and it was treated with cryotherapy to freeze and remove it. Over the next two years, Jordan revisited the same GP twice more when the same treatment was administered, but each time it would scab over and come back bigger and all the while continued to itch and bleed. 

It wasn’t until June 2007, when another GP at the surgery saw Jordan, that he was referred to a minor surgery clinic for a biopsy but that didn’t take place until December 2007 where he was delivered the devastating news that he had malignant melanoma.

Following the diagnosis, Jordan had to endure excruciating surgery on his back and groin to try and remove cancerous lymph nodes followed by chemotherapy. The treatments were unsuccessful and further tests revealed his cancer had spread to his groin, lymph system and bones and the chemotherapy was stopped. He tragically lost his battle against the disease in January 2009, just six days after his 23rd birthday.

Following a complaint by Jordan’s family to the GMC (General Medical Council) into Jordan’s GP’s fitness to practice, an expert instructed by the GMC concluded that the standard of care Jordan had received from his doctor had fallen ‘seriously below a minimum standard of reasonable professional competence’. The GMC concluded that there was an indication that Jordan’s GPs fitness to practice was impaired, but that he could continue to practice as long as he complied with a series of undertakings including training and supervision. 

Jordan’s distraught mum, Karyn, 51, said her family including daughter Courtney, 23, who is battling a rare kidney cancer, have been devastated by her son’s death and are urging the NHS to do everything in its power so no one else suffers the way they have.

She said: “Jordan was an amazing person who had everything to live for, great friends, a steady job, a loving family and an amazing girlfriend who he had dreams of starting his own family with. It’s heartbreaking to know if he’d been diagnosed earlier and treated properly he could’ve gone on to live a full and happy life, but that chance was taken from him.

“Jordan did everything right, he went to the doctors when his mole started irritating him, and kept going back – but he was let down by our GP in the worst way possible. I want the NHS to do everything in its power to make sure what happened to Jordan can never, ever happen again by making sure GPs are regularly assessed to make sure they’re fit to practice.

“And I want to urge people who aren’t happy with the advice and treatment they’re getting from their doctors is to please ask more questions, and ask for a second opinion. Jordan didn’t want anyone else to suffer like he did, if we can save one life by sharing his story, his death won’t have been in vain.”

If you have suffered due to misdiagnosed skin cancer or a delayed skin 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.