Resources

Delayed diagnosis in treatment of brain tumour

04 June 2019

We acted for a client where there was a delayed diagnosis and treatment of her brain tumour (sphenoid wing meningioma).

Our client’s symptoms of giddiness, loss of balance, vertigo, headaches, numbness of the right side of her face with pain in the ear and the right side of the face began in the 1980s. Investigations were undertaken including a referral to a neurologist. Various diagnoses were suggested, including a vestibular disorder and migraine related dizziness. An MRI head scan was undertaken in 2003 which did not reveal any abnormality. Given her ongoing symptoms, she reverted back to her GP, who in 2006 wrote to a Consultant in neuro-otology who recommended a referral to the neuro-otology or a migraine specialist for assessment. However, no such referral was made. Our client continued to see her GP with ongoing symptoms and was referred to the pain clinic and for acupuncture. After being taken to A&E by ambulance in 2011, a CT head scan was undertaken which was found to be grossly abnormal: An MRI brain scan confirmed a sphenoid wing meningioma with extension through the skull base. Our client underwent an operation (craniotomy) to remove the tumour. However, they were unable to remove all of the tumour.

Our client was unfortunately unable to cope with stereotactic radiotherapy or conventional radiotherapy. The tumour grew and she had a further operation to remove it, following which she suffered a stroke. Our client was then transferred to a rehabilitation unit where, she was largely confined to bed with paralysis on her left hand side and marked dizziness. The tumour recurred significantly; no further treatment options were available and our client sadly passed away in 2014.

Our client approached us in the late stages of the disease and as the limitation date for making a claim was approaching. There were multiple possible Defendants to consider but we protected our client’s position by issuing proceedings against various different Defendants, which following investigation, were ultimately narrowed down to just one particular GP.

Liability was denied throughout the claim but we were able to persuade the Defendant to settle the claim in the weeks before trial.

Liability was particularly difficult to establish in light of a crucial MRI brain scan being destroyed owing to the passage of time and therefore our experts were unable to consider this important piece of evidence. In addition, our experts were unable to attribute all our client’s symptoms to the tumour, which also made it difficult to establish when the negligence occurred. There was a big dispute with the Defendant as to the estimated size of the tumour at various points in time and therefore whether an earlier MRI scan would have revealed a tumour requiring treatment at the time that the GP should have referred our client for further treatment. However, our expertise in analysing the evidence meant that we were able to argue the case effectively and secure a settlement which our client was extremely happy with.

Comments received by client on a case run by Victoria Jones:

"We are completely satisfied with the outcome of the claim. Also the service we have received we cannot thank you enough for your commitment to the case. We were extremely impressed throughout and your persistence stands out to me and my family. Thank you and all of your colleagues who have helped with this case. Many thanks again for all your support.”

By Victoria Jones

For further advice on the above topics, please call us on 01483 543222 or alternatively email enquiries@barlowrobbins.com

See our dedicated Clinical Negligence service page to see what we do and how our solicitors can help.