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Misdiagnosis of Bowel Cancer: Family of GP Negligence Victim Awarded Payment at High Court

Misdiagnosis of Bowel Cancer: Family of GP Negligence Victim Awarded Payment at High Court

The family of David Malleby, a 44-year-old father of two who died in 2012 after his GP failed to spot the signs of bowel cancer, has been awarded a six-figure payment at the High Court.

He first visited Dr Richard Davey in January 2005, telling him of symptoms indicative of the early stages of the disease; he also informed the GP that his father had been diagnosed with the disease at the age of 45. Despite this, however, he was not referred for further tests and was told instead that he was likely suffering from an anal fissure.

At the trial, medical experts testified that any test at that early stage would have detected a benign polyp, which could have been treated, with Mr Mallaby going on to make a full recovery. Instead, it was not diagnosed until 2011, by which time his condition was terminal. He died soon after from carcinomatosis.

Bowel cancer – delays in diagnosis can be fatal

Bowel cancer, or colorectal cancer as it is also known, is the third most-common type of cancer in the UK and the second most-common cause of cancer death, leading to 16,000 deaths every year according to figures from Cancer Research UK. If diagnosed during its early stages, patients have a 90% five-year survival rate – however, delays in spotting it see the probability of full recovery dropping to 6%.

Aside from the devastating human consequences that come from a failure to spot bowel cancer early on, it also contributes to a massive cost on NHS resources. Last year the health service paid out a total of £1.2bn in negligence settlements, and had outstanding liabilities in July of £25.6bn, according to the NHS Litigation Authority.

Christine Tomkins, chief executive of the Medical Defence Union, which defends doctors against claims, said: “The financial burden the NHS faces for all known and future, [medical] negligence claims is astonishing. Errors do happen but thankfully are rare and patients who are negligently harmed must be fairly compensated, but to keep on paying multimillion pound awards is not sustainable”.

GP Will Be Compensating the Family Himself

Dr Davey, who will be paying the undisclosed damages himself, and his partners at Larwood and Village Surgeries said: “This was a tragic case for all those concerned and Dr Davey and his GP Partners would like to express their sincere sympathy to all those that, not only loved Mr Mallaby, but whose lives he has touched in some way. Although our aim is to always provide the best possible care to our patients, we know that occasionally things may not go as we had hoped.”

“This was the case with Mr Mallaby and the consequences were devastating and life-changing for all those involved. We will continue to strive to deliver a high standard of care and make any improvements necessary to achieve this”.

Mr Justice Hickinbottom, who approved the settlement for Joanne Malleby and the couple’s children at the High Court in London, said: “The settlement of this claim is not the most important step for Mrs Mallaby and Lucy and Oliver in coming to terms with [David’s death]. The conclusion of the claim will allow them to concentrate on more important things”.

Making a compensation claim for medical misdiagnosis by GP or Consultant

You are entitled to expect a certain standard of treatment from those providing medical assistance to you. If this treatment falls below standard you may be entitled to recover the cost of the private medical treatment needed to correct the failings on the part of those originally treating you. Our goal at IBB Solicitors is to obtain justice for victims of the negligence by others, by securing compensation that reflects their pain and suffering, as well as related financial losses including loss of earnings, treatment costs and specialist care costs.

If you want to enquire about making a clinical negligence claim, please contact a member of our team on 01895 207835 or 01895 207295. Alternatively, you can send an email with your name and contact information and brief details as to the nature of the accident/clinical negligence and the injuries sustained to malcolm.underhill@ibblaw.co.uk and one of our team will be able to help you.