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Delayed Diagnosis Of Kidney Cancer

Specialist medical negligence solicitors from Irwin Mitchell acted on behalf of Julia following her partner’s death from kidney cancer, aged 36.


In early 2012, Julia’s partner Tom noticed blood in his urine and had also realised that he had passed some clots of blood. Consequently, he visited his GP and was diagnosed with possible kidney stones and prescribed antibiotics. A few weeks later Tom returned to see his GP complaining of pain. He was referred for an ultrasound scan at the hospital which showed a mass in his right kidney.

Alarmed by the findings, an urgent CT scan was organised with a private consultant urologist for an assessment. Both a radiologist and the urologist agreed that the scan showed kidney inflammation but they didn’t think that there was anything seriously wrong. Tom was therefore informed that he had a serious kidney infection and was prescribed a three week course of antibiotics.

In May 2012 Tom again attended A&E because he still had blood in his urine and was in a lot of pain. He was advised to discuss this urgently with a consultant and the next week another CT scan was performed and the mass in the kidney could still be seen. The doctors still didn’t know what the cause was and a biopsy was suggested.

Cancer confirmation

The biopsy was not carried out until July 2012 which sadly confirmed that Tom had kidney cancer which had also spread to his lymph nodes.

Tom had to have surgery on his kidney but in August 2012, he was told that the cancer had spread to his hips, iliac crest and spine. Tom and Julia were advised that the cancer was terminal and he died just three weeks later in hospital, leaving behind Julia and their three young children.

We acted on behalf of Tom’s family and argued that his cancer should have been diagnosed as early as May 2012, following his visit to the private urologist. If this had been the case, Tom would have avoided months of unnecessary pain and discomfort during the period where he wasn’t receiving any treatment. He would have also had the chance to plan his death.

Tom and Julia weren’t married and if they’d been given more notice of Tom’s cancer, they would have arranged a wedding. If the pair had been married, Julia would have been entitled to a statutory bereavement award and statutory widows’ benefits.


Working with Julia, our team managed to secure a £40,000 award on behalf of the estate of Tom, out of court, for her late partner’s unnecessary pain and suffering.

Elizabeth Marchant, a medical law specialist, said: “Tom was let down on several occasions by those treating leading to unnecessary delays in diagnosing his terminal illness. His family were understandably shocked and angry that his cancer could have been overlooked for so long.

“I was pleased to be able to help Julia by getting the doctors responsible to acknowledge the mistakes that had been made. This meant the most to her.

“The compensation we recovered will also go towards making life a bit more comfortable for Julia and her children.”

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