GP that missed the signs of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
When a patient in his 20's went to his doctors with an unexplained cough, the vital signs of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma were all missed.
In this case, we made a £65,000 out of court settlement. The defendant was a GP at the West End Medical Centre, Ashton-under-Lyne, and the compensation award recognises their breach in duty of care.
Signs of Hodgkin's Lymphoma
Our client was 22 when he initially visited the GP practice with a persistent cough and was given antibiotics for a suspected chest infection.
The cough however continued, and he reported green sputum, vomiting and a shortness of breath. Our client also experienced hair loss, and on another visit to the GP, a chest examination reported crepitations (a crunching or grating noise in the chest area). Again a lower respiratory tract infection was diagnosed, and antibiotics prescribed; however none of his vital signs; temperature, pulse, blood pressure and oxygen saturations, were checked.
Two months later, he attended the clinic for blood tests, the results of which were abnormal. His symptoms began to worsen, with pain in his loins and a tenderness in his renal area.
Nearly a year from his first visit to a GP, our client, in desperation visited another surgery in Tameside, presenting with not only his initial symptoms but also lumps in his thigh and shoulder area and discoloured patches on his abdomen.
Hodgkin's Lymphoma Diagnosis
The presence of an interpreter helped in this, and a follow up chest x-ray and CT scan showed evidence of lymphoma. A further biopsy of a new mass in his neck led to a diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and almost a year after his initial appointment with a GP, our client was referred to Christie Hospital, Manchester and began a six month course of chemotherapy.
“All reasonably competent General Practitioners who see a patient with an unexplained chronic cough should have investigated further,” said Medical Negligence Solicitor Daniel Phelps.
“Here, the defendant’s breach of duty of care includes failing to assess vital signs, and refer for scans and x-rays, but also, if there were issues with understanding, as our client’s English is limited, then a consultation should have taken place with an interpreter.”
As a result of the GP’s negligence in this case, our client has had to undergo more chemotherapy. His cancer progressed to Stage 3, and his long-term prognosis is not as good.
“The negligence has had a serious effect on my client’s mental health,” added Daniel Phelps. “The impact of a later diagnosis on his future health and life expectancy has led to extreme psychological disorder, and the compensation settlement reflects this.”
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