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A cancer survivor who held a doctor responsible for years of unnecessary suffering has been awarded an interim payment of £100,000 to enable her to meet vital care needs until her full award can be assessed.
The former solicitor and mother of four has undergone extensive, distressing and debilitating treatment since being diagnosed with liver cancer. Lawyers acting on her behalf claimed that none of it would have been necessary were it not for the negligence of a Harley Street-based consultant radiologist.
The doctor had performed a CT scan four years before her diagnosis but had failed to report a mass on her liver. In pursuing her claim for more than £630,000 in damages, the woman's lawyers claimed that the tumour was not at that stage malignant and that prompt surgery would probably have provided a complete cure.
The doctor argued that the woman already had malignant cancer at the time of the CT scan and that earlier surgery would have made little or no difference to the outcome. There was, however, expert evidence on the woman's side that it was close to inconceivable that, had that been the case, she would have still been alive when diagnosed.
Following a preliminary hearing, the Court found it probable that the woman would ultimately succeed in winning substantial damages. On that basis, she was awarded the interim payment which she urgently requires. The full amount of her compensation award will be calculated at a further hearing.
Whilst securing compensation in cases of medical negligence can be a lengthy process, this case illustrates that victims should not be deterred from pursuing a worthwhile claim as the courts have the power to make interim awards to cover a person's immediate medical and care needs.