Multiple Myeloma Case Study – £50,000 in Compensation

hospital negligence

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Our Clinical Negligence Department at Oliver & Co has recently successfully recovered compensation of £50,000.00 for our client, after the Defendant hospital our client attended failed to diagnose him with multiple myeloma, resulting in an avoidable delay in his diagnosis and treatment.

What is multiple myeloma?

Multiple myeloma is a type of bone marrow cancer which can often affect multiple areas of the body, such as the spine, pelvis, ribs and skull. Multiple myeloma causes damage to bones and affects healthy blood cell production.

You can read more about multiple myeloma in our article here.

Circumstances of the case

In 2013 our client started experiencing back pain and attended his GP. After multiple GP appointments and worsening symptoms over several months, he was referred for an X-ray. An X-ray was performed at the Defendant Hospital and was reported as normal.

A couple of weeks later our client was taken to a different hospital by ambulance due to the increased excruciating back pain he was suffering from. Unfortunately, he was discharged at this stage with only painkillers.

After several further appointments at several hospitals and his GP over several months, our client was eventually referred for an MRI scan. The scan showed an abnormality of our client’s bone texture, and he was subsequently diagnosed with multiple myeloma. The diagnosis was made 4 months after his initial X-ray at the Defendant Hospital.

During the delay in diagnosis, our client suffered from significant pain, discomfort, restriction of movement, restricted ability to work, problems with mobility and more. It was our view that the delay in diagnosing the multiple myeloma had also caused our client a worse outcome than had he been diagnosed and treated at the earlier missed opportunity, i.e. the X-ray taken 4 months earlier. 

The delay in diagnosis led to:-

  • Considerable deterioration and collapse of our client’s vertebral bodies;
  • Significant pain, discomfort and loss of amenity during the period of delay;
  • Significant ongoing permanent symptoms of loss of vertebral height;
  • Restriction of movement
  • Back pain which significantly restricted his ability to work and carry out normal day-to-day activities;
  • Psychological difficulties; and
  • An ongoing need for infusions.

In September 2015, our client instructed us to make a claim for clinical negligence.

In order to investigate the claim we obtained our client’s full medical records. In order to assess the claim, the records were reviewed with our Head of Department, Linda Schermer-Jones, using her unique knowledge as she is dual qualified as both a doctor and a solicitor. We sought independent expert opinion to provide medical reports to comment on our client’s care. These experts were also supportive of our client’s claim, and agreed that the Defendant Hospital had breached their duty of care to him. Expert evidence was obtained from numerous specialists including a Consultant Radiologist and a Consultant Haematologist.

We brought an action against the Defendant Hospital, alleging that had the Radiologist noted the abnormal appearances on the X-ray in early 2014, our client would have undergone further investigations and been diagnosed and treated appropriately for multiple myeloma shortly after this. The client would have then avoided the prolonged pain and suffering during the period of delay and unnecessary treatment including the need to undergo spinal surgery for the collapse of his vertebral body, which we argued, would have been avoided with an earlier diagnosis.

The Defendant Hospital admitted that they had breached their duty of care in that the X-ray had not been correctly interpreted and that this had led to a delay in diagnosis and treatment. However, they denied that this breach had caused a different outcome for our client. We completely disagreed with this and maintained that our client’s claim had good prospects of success and so we continued our investigations despite the Defendant’s opposing stance.

We therefore obtained further expert evidence from a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon who was also supportive, agreeing with us that had our client been diagnosed earlier, he would have had reduced symptoms, avoided his vertebral body collapse and would have been able to continue to carry out everyday tasks, including working.

The Defendant solicitors continued to dispute the claim and maintained that their breach of duty to our client did not change our client’s overall outcome. In a last attempt to reach a settlement agreement before the final hearing at court, a meeting was organised with the Defendant solicitors.

After significant negotiation, we were delighted to agree a figure of £50,000.00 in full and final settlement of our client’s claim.