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A woman has secured substantial damages after two different GPs advised her that a mole on her foot, which turned out to be cancerous, was harmless.
The woman made two visits to her surgery after the mole had changed in appearance and had begun to itch. She was seen by different GPs on each occasion, both of whom told her that there was no cause for concern. Neither of the GPs measured the mole. On the second visit, she insisted that she be referred to a specialist.
After a few months, she had not received a hospital appointment, so she returned to the surgery, where another GP suggested slicing the top off the mole after deciding that she could not remove it. The woman declined and again asked to be referred to hospital.
At the hospital, she was seen by a dermatologist and the mole was quickly removed. Tests showed that she had skin cancer, and she underwent further surgery. When she subsequently began to experience further symptoms, it was discovered that the cancer had spread.
The woman brought a medical negligence claim against her GP. Expert evidence indicated that, if the care she received had been appropriate, the mole would have been treated earlier and her prognosis would have been better. The GP denied liability, but the insurer agreed a six-figure settlement after court proceedings were brought.