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Demand For Improvement After Lung Cancer Patient Endures Eight-Month Delay in Diagnosis

Daughter Calls For Lessons To Be Learned During Lung Cancer Awareness Month

21.11.2017

James Clarke, Press Officer | +44 (0)161 838 3169

The daughter of a Manchester health fanatic who died after doctors failed to diagnose his terminal lung cancer at the earliest possible opportunity is calling on the NHS to mark Lung Cancer Awareness Month by learning lessons from his devastating case.

Avid racing cyclist Sydney Hassall attended A&E at Fairfield General Hospital in Bury in October 2014 complaining of chest pain and shortness of breath and, while abnormalities were identified on a subsequent CT scan, no further action was taken.

Eight months later, in July 2015, he returned to the same hospital after further chest problems, with scans revealing an increase in the size of an abnormality which was present on the earlier scan, but tragically not acted upon.   Just two days after the tests, it was confirmed that he had terminal lung cancer. He died aged 77 on October 31st 2015.

Following his death, Sydney’s daughter, Julie Perry, instructed specialist lawyers in Irwin Mitchell’s Medical Negligence team to investigate the treatment that he received, with the legal experts securing an admission from Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust that his care fell below the expected standard.

Now, as work to conclude the legal case continues, Julie is calling on the NHS to mark Lung Cancer Awareness Month this November by reviewing and improving standards of care offered to patients suffering from the condition.

Mark Havenhand, the specialist lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Manchester office who is representing Sydney’s loved ones, said: 

Expert Opinion
“Around two years on from his death, Sydney’s family remain devastated by their loss and the circumstances surrounding it.

“While we do not believe that an earlier diagnosis would have prevented his death, it is our view that it could have allowed him to access further treatment which would have alleviated the symptoms of pain and breathlessness that he endured and in addition prolonged his life by some months

“The case is all the more tragic in that the negligence in this case was simply not acting on the results of an earlier scan when the abnormality was noted. It appears that it was simply filed away.

“Lung Cancer Awareness Month is an important time of year where we can reflect on the standards of support offered to patients and we feel this case demonstrates that there is still clear room for improvement. Action must be taken.”
Mark Havenhand, Partner

Bury-based Julie, 53, said: “Dad was an extremely healthy guy who loved cycling and did not drink or smoke. This meant the news of his cancer was a massive bombshell for all of us.

“I went with him to the appointment where his diagnosis was confirmed that the doctor said that the issue could be seen on the earlier scans. We were so shocked that the problem could have been missed and we do think that the earlier diagnosis would have made a huge difference.

“Ultimately, his health had not deteriorated in October 2014 so I am sure he would have proceeded with chemotherapy, which could have really improved his quality of life and ensured we would all have had extra time together.

“Lung Cancer Awareness Month is an opportunity to talk about the condition and the standards of care available and our only hope is that lessons can be learned to prevent others from facing the ordeal that Dad did.”

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