Family Urge Lessons Be Learnt As Diagnosis Delay Causes Cancer To Spread And Become Terminal
The family of an elderly lady who died of cancer of the womb after a delay of over a year in diagnosing her say they hope lessons are learned by the GP who failed to refer her for further tests, which breached the official guidelines provided to doctors.
Mary Morley, died in June 2012 aged 82, as a result of endometrial cancer which was only diagnosed months before her death despite her seeing her GP several times over the previous 2 years. The NICE guidelines for doctors state that an urgent referral should have been made given the symptoms Mary was showing.
Her family instructed specialist medical negligence solicitors at Irwin Mitchell to investigate her care as they were concerned that she had suffered problems for more than a year before being diagnosed with cancer.
The law firm has now agreed a settlement with her original GP Dr Amal El Kafrawy who practices at the Delamere Medical Practice in Stretford after the doctor’s insurers admitted liability for the delays in Mary’s diagnosis and treatment.
On 4th October 2010 Mary consulted Dr Amal El Kafrawy, visiting her again a number of times, before finally being referred to hospital for further tests in January 2012, only after being challenged by her son as why she had not been referred for further tests.
Medical experts on behalf of Irwin Mitchell alleged that the original GP did not examine Mary properly, had she been referred for urgent gynaecological opinion, her cancer would have been diagnosed within a few weeks of the consultation on 4th October 2010.
It was not until 31st January 2012 that Mary was seen in the gynaecology outpatient department at Trafford Hospital, where further investigations revealed extensive cancer of the womb, with a tumour which had now spread to become inoperable and terminal.
After receiving palliative care for six months Mary passed away on 25th June 2012.
Her son, Kevin said “Our mother’s death was just devastating, Mum was a healthy 80-year-old before these problems in 2010.”
“After repeatedly seeing the GP from October 2010, at Christmas 2011 we could tell that something wasn’t right and pleaded with her to go back to the doctors. My mother said she felt as though she was being labelled as a hypochondriac. She had kept going back to her GP with her problems over the next year or so and was given all sorts of painkillers. It seemed to me that they were just trying to treat the symptoms rather than investigating the root cause.
“In early January 2012 I spoke to my mother’s GP myself because I was concerned that she had not been referred for further investigation. We then decided to take my mother to a different GP practice and she was then seen by consultants and referred for an MRI scan.
We were distraught when we found out it was terminal. To know that more could and should have been done two years before her death is difficult to come to terms with.
“We just hope that lessons are learned from this so that other vulnerable people can get the appropriate treatment as quickly as possible.”
Ayse Ince, a specialist medical negligence solicitor at Irwin Mitchell representing the family said:
Expert Opinion“This is a tragic case in which an elderly lady was not diagnosed until it was too late to treat her cancer. Had she been diagnosed back in 2010, some two years before her death, the cancer would have been smaller and able to be treated. As a result of the delay in diagnosis Mary’s life was unnecessarily cut short causing both her and her family immense distress over a couple of years.
“It is crucial that any form of cancer is caught as early as possible so that the treatment possibilities are maximised. Mary’s family now hope that the GP will now learn from these issues to reduce the risk of future delays in diagnosis of cancer in future.” Ayse Ince - Associate Solicitor
If you or a loved one has suffered due to a delayed or misdiagnosed medical condition, our medical negligence solicitors could help you claim compensation. See our Medical Misdiagnosis Claims page for more information.