Delayed diagnosis of anal cancer

Davies and Partners settled a claim arising out of delayed diagnosis of anal cancer.

Mrs G developed altered bowel habit and pain in her rectum. She saw her GP and a routine referral to Southmead Hospital was made.

Mrs G was first seen at hospital on 12th May and on examination it was noted that she had a moderate sized rectocele with an anterior rectal bulge. Mrs G was advised that the impression was that she had a combination of symptomatic diverticular disease and obstructive defecation syndrome. Mrs G had a CT colonography which was reported as showing no colonic mass or significant polyp, uncomplicated diverticulosis.

By this time, there was a visible lump outside the anus and Mrs G was still in considerable pain. She was seen again at Southmead hospital and advised that the significant small bowel enterocele was falling in to the pelvis, and that this was the likely cause of Mrs G’s symptoms. Mrs G queried the considerable pain, bleeding and visible lump on her anus, but was simply told that the prolapse was pressing on nerves, which was causing the pain.

Mrs G self-referred to a private Colorectal Surgeon who obtained her scans from Southmead hospital and immediately advised her on the same day that he was 99% sure she had anal cancer, and a biopsy the following day confirmed a diagnosis of anal cancer.

Mrs G successfully underwent two courses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Davies and Partners were instructed by Mrs G after she was initially turned away from another law firm being told that although they would be able to show that breaches of duty had occurred, that it would be difficult to establish causation in that the delayed diagnosis did not cause injury/and or change the outcome.

Davies and Partners’ disagreed and took the claim on. We issued a Letter of Claim outlining the allegations of negligence and the financial losses suffered in consequence, and were able to successfully settle the claim at the pre-action protocol stage, prior to issuing proceedings. We recovered damages in the sum of £6,000, which paid for the full cost of Mrs G’s private treatment and provided her with a sum in consideration of her pain and suffering caused by the negligent medical treatment received.

Mrs G had the following to say about her experience with Davies and Partners…

“You have done a splendid job and I am very grateful. “

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