Fatally delayed diagnosis of melanoma

Six figure compensation for a fatally delayed diagnosis of melanoma

We acted for the family of a lady who died of melanoma in 2020. It was alleged that on several occasions in 2017, staff at her GP practice failed to note the changes to a lesion on the bottom of her right big toe and failed to involve a GP.

This led to an 18 month delay in diagnosis of skin cancer. Sadly, she died in 2020 and her widower and daughters took over the claim. 

The case history

Our client had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2015. As a result of this she had regular checks with the diabetic nurses at her GP Practice. Part of the checks involved a routine examination of the feet. 

In 2016, she noticed an area of staining on the bottom of her foot and one of her daughters took a photograph of it. At her next diabetic check, in early 2017, she alleged that she mentioned this to the diabetic nurse but her concerns were dismissed. 

She returned again to the Practice in August and December 2017, by which time the lesion on her foot was changing in size, shape and colour. She alleged that she mentioned this again each time, but no action was taken. 

By the spring of 2018 the lesion looked significantly different and she was becoming increasingly concerned and alarmed that no-one appeared to be taking this seriously. In some desperation, she googled her symptoms and self-diagnosed a very rare type of melanoma and then sent an image of her foot to a clinician at a specialist cancer hospital asking for help. He immediately told her to go to her local hospital without delay. The diagnosis was formally made shortly thereafter. 

She began treatment for her cancer but unfortunately, the cancer spread, and she died in August 2020. 

How we helped our client

A claim was intimated in 2020 based on the client’s factual evidence and expert evidence that she should have been referred to the GP who then would most likely have made an urgent referral to a hospital dermatology team. Liability was denied on the basis that as the GP notes did not record any conversation about the staining in 2017 then those conversations never happened.  It was common ground that by early 2018 when the notes did record the concerns it was too late to alter the outcome. Notwithstanding that denial, we proceeded to fully quantify the claim based on pain and suffering prior to her death, a bereavement award, expenses and an element of dependency. A six figure negotiated settlement was reached in September 2022.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you and your team for a job well done. It has been a very difficult couple of years but we got there. I believe my wife  would have been  pleased with the outcome.

Client’s husband

How Moore Barlow can help you

If you have suffered an injury as a result of medical negligence, our priority is making sure you get the best outcome and we are here to help you get the answers, support and compensation you need to help rebuild your life.

Our medical negligence team includes lawyers qualified in medicine and nursing with practical experience of working in hospitals, including orthopaedic surgery, hospital medicine, anaesthetics and intensive care. This unique blend means that we’re ideally placed amongst medical negligence firms to offer truly specialist advice and support on both a legal and practical level.

Contact one our specialist medical negligence lawyer now to get the help you need.