Man Joins Medical Negligence Lawyers At Irwin Mitchell In Marking National Campaign
The husband of a mum-of-two who died from breast cancer aged 34 has spoken of his ‘devastating’ loss and the importance of early detection.
Leonie Largue attended her GP surgery after developing a 1cm lump in her right breast. Without thorough examination, she was advised by a doctor that it was a swollen lymph gland. No onward referral was made.
Around 17 months later, Leonie, from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, attended the surgery again. At this time, two lumps were found. She was referred urgently to the breast clinic.
Two weeks later, Leonie underwent a biopsy. She was subsequently diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent chemotherapy.
She died around one year after diagnosis.
Following Leonie’s death, her husband John, 42, instructed medical negligence experts at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his wife’s care and whether her cancer could have been diagnosed sooner.
John is now joining with his lawyers in marking Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. It comes after his legal team secured him an undisclosed settlement from a GP involved in her care. Through their lawyers the GP admitted a breach of duty in that they should have carried out a breast examination during Leonie’s initial appointment. They denied that earlier treatment would have avoided her death, however the parties were able to reach a compromise in the claim following negotiations.
Expert Opinion“Leonie’s death from breast cancer at such a young age has understandably left her loved ones heartbroken. John and their children, in particular, are continuing to struggle to come to terms with their loss.
Cancer doesn’t discriminate; it can affect anyone, and it’s vital that it’s investigated and treated early to increase the chances of survival. While concerning areas in Leonie’s care have been identified during our investigations, people should still take part in cancer screening programmes and seek medical advice if they’re concerned.
We can’t change the suffering that Leonie’s family have been through but we’re pleased to have secured this settlement which will help secure the futures of Leonie’s children and help the family access the specialist support they require to try and rebuild their lives.
We join John in supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month. By telling his story John hopes that he can help others by raising awareness of the signs of the disease.”
Rachelle Mahapatra - Partner
Leonie first visited her GP surgery on 4 June, 2014, complaining of a lump in her breast. A diagnosis of a swollen lymph gland was reported.
On 9 November 2015, she returned to the surgery. The previous lump was found alongside another mass. As a result, Leonie was referred to the breast clinic for an urgent two-week appointment.
She attended the clinic on 23 November, where she underwent examination and biopsies. Pathology results reported grade three invasive cancer.
In February 2016, Leonie was admitted to hospital with shortness of breath and was coughing up blood. A CT scan was performed, which showed progression of her cancer. She underwent six cycles of chemotherapy between February and June that year.
Despite treatment, Leonie died on 3 November 2016.
At the time of her death, Leonie, a sales and finance assistant, and John, a former self-employed builder, had been married for seven years. They had two sons, Jack, 18, and Ryan, 15.
John said: “It’s been six years since we lost Leonie, but the pain today still feels as raw as it did back then.
“She was so young and full of life before getting cancer, it was devastating to watch it take hold of her. For her to die so soon after being diagnosed was also incredibly difficult.
“She was the best wife and mum and to know that our sons will have to live their lives without her is unbearable. They were still very young when they had to deal with losing Leonie, and she’ll never see them get married or have families of their own.
“To this day, I still feel if the cancer had been found earlier, Leonie might still be here. But I know there is nothing I can do to turn back the clock and change what’s happened.
“All I can do now is give our sons the best life possible, and make sure they know their mum loved them with all her heart. I also hope that by sharing my story, it will make others aware that cancer doesn’t just affect those who are old or unfit. Leonie had her best years ahead of her, yet she still fell ill.
“It’s also important that cancer is found early, so please seek a second opinion if you need to. I really wish I had urged Leonie to do that; I feel it might have saved her life.”