Our Medical Negligence team have secured a six-figure settlement for the family of a cancer patient who suffered delays in treatment. The settlement follows legal action taken against the two NHS trusts that were responsible for this delay.
Daniel Hemmings, a 27-year-old father-of-one from Halesowen, died in March 2014 from carcinomatosis with spindle cell sarcoma. Carcinomatosis is a condition where multiple cancerous tumours develop over a large area of the body, and spindle cell sarcoma is a type of tumour which develops in the body's soft tissue. This was four years after he first sought medical advice regarding a lump on his lower back, which was growing in size and becoming increasingly painful.
Daniel asked our specialist medical negligence solicitors to investigate his treatment. Following his death, Daniel's partner Fallon Waldron continued to seek answers on his behalf.
Daniel had Type 1 Neurofibromatosis, which caused him to develop tumours in his nervous system. He initially raised concerns with his GP regarding the lump on his back in 2010, and was referred to Worcestershire Royal Hospital (part of Worcester Acute Hospital NHS Trust), where he had an MRI scan. After this, there was no follow-up to review the findings of the scan.
This led Daniel to assume everything was fine. He contacted his GP again in March 2011 with concerns about the lump, and this time was referred to Russells Hall Hospital (part of Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust). An MRI and an ultrasound scan in September 2011 discovered that the lump was in fact a benign tumour. Daniel had an operation to remove the tumour in March 2012.
Further tests found that the tumour was in fact a malignant spindle cell sarcoma, and Daniel was referred to the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham. However, Daniel was not informed of this due to a mix-up related to his contact details, and was not seen by the hospital until July 2012. At this time, he received his diagnosis and started treatment. Daniel sadly passed away in March 2014.
The case is now settled, with the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust admitting that Daniel should have been referred to a specialist cancer team more than a year earlier than he was. Neither Trust made any other admissions of liability.
Fallon, who lives in Halesowen with the couple's six-year-old son Harry, said:
"I still look back in disbelief that it took around two years from Daniel complaining about the lump for it to be recognised for what it was. Unfortunately this settlement came without full admissions of liability from either Trust, so for us as a family some questions do still remain about how this was allowed to happen."
"I just hope that if any good can come from the nightmare we have faced, it is that lessons can be learned which will ensure that the treatment and care received by others can be improved."
Jenna Harris, the medical negligence solicitor representing Fallon and the family, said:
"Securing this settlement for Fallon is a small ray of light in a desperately tragic and devastating case.
A young father sought medical advice related to a lump and put his faith in the medical professionals who advised him. Unfortunately, by the time he received the appropriate care it was too late.
"We will continue to work with Fallon to ensure she and Harry have the support they need moving forward."
If you or a loved one has suffered due to negligent treatment by a hospital, our medical negligence solicitors can help. Please visit our Hospital Negligence page for more information.
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