Hospital Trust Admits Liability After Partner Instructs Specialist Lawyers At Irwin Mitchell
The family of a woman who died after a hospital failed to remove a cancerous tumour for 17 months has taken a step forward in its fight for justice, after the NHS Trust involved admitted liability for her death.
Marie Duffy had been referred by her GP to Rotherham Hospital in August 2014 for a CT scan following investigations regarding abdominal pain which had lasted several weeks.
The results of a CT scan highlighted suspicions of colon cancer. However, Marie was discharged from the hospital’s care in October without any follow-up appointment.
Marie, a mum-of-six, continued to experience months of pain and was once again referred to the hospital in December 2015. Following further tests, she was diagnosed with terminal cancer in March 2016. Marie died aged 44, that July.
Following Marie’s death, her family instructed specialist medical negligence solicitors at Irwin Mitchell’s Sheffield office to investigate the level of care she received under Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust.
Now, after the Trust admitted liability for delays in Marie’s diagnosis and death, her partner Nicholas Bagnall, has joined his legal team at Irwin Mitchell in calling for lessons to be learned.
Expert OpinionThis is a truly devastating case in which a number of very serious concerns over the level of care Marie received have been admitted by the Hospital Trust.
“Whilst nothing can ever make up for the heartache Nicholas and the rest of the family have suffered, the family is pleased that the Trust has admitted liability.
“Marie’s case is a stark reminder of the need for patient standards to be upheld at all times. We will continue to support Nicholas and join him and the rest of the family in calling on the Hospital Trust to ensure it learns lessons from the way in Marie and her family were let down so that the issues faced by Marie are not repeated.” Hayley Smith - Associate Solicitor
Nicholas said: “Marie always felt that the hospital was not taking her concerns seriously but we put our faith in them.
“We should have had years ahead of us but I can’t help feeling our family has been torn apart because of the way our concerns seemed to be dismissed without too much concern.
“It may be two years since Marie died but it still doesn’t feel real. Marie was such a key part of the family who would do anything for anyone. Each day is a struggle without her.
“All I can hope for now is that the Hospital Trust learns lessons and implements new procedures so Marie’s death is not totally in vain.”
Marie lived in Thrybergh, Rotherham, and had six children; four adult children from a previous relationship and two young children with Nicholas. She also had young grandchildren.
She attended her GP practice in July 2014 complaining of severe abdominal pain which had lasted more than two weeks. She was referred for various investigations following which a CT scan was recommended. Marie’s GP referred her to Rotherham Hospital in August 2014 for the CT scan.
The CT scan was undertaken in September 2014 and highlighted suspicions of colon cancer. A surgeon reviewed the CT scan and referred her for a sigmoidoscopy.
During the procedure two polyps were retrieved. However, unfortunately a full procedure could not be completed. In the circumstances, the advice was that Marie should be referred back to the surgeon.
Subsequently, the polyps were reported as benign, and a consultant then discharged Marie on 8 October 2014, based on the findings of the partial sigmoidoscopy.
Marie continued to seek medical advice and was again referred to Rotherham Hospital in December 2015. Following tests she was diagnosed with terminal cancer in March 2016.
Marie underwent invasive treatment to remove a tumour in April 2016 but the cancer had spread. She died on 26 July, 2016.
As part of Irwin Mitchell’s legal case the Hospital Trust admitted that in light of the results of Marie’s CT scan and sigmoidoscopy she should have been referred for further consideration and not discharged from the hospital’s care.
The Trust also admitted that with further investigations Marie’s tumour would have been removed in November 2014; 17 months earlier than it in fact was. The Trust has also admitted that this would have avoided the need for Marie to have a stoma bag, chemotherapy, and she would not have died on 26 July 2016.
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