Compensation for the Failure to Diagnose a Cancerous Mole Settled Out of Court

A woman has recovered a settlement of compensation for the failure to diagnose a cancerous mole after two doctors told her she had nothing to worry about.

The unnamed woman claimed compensation for the failure to diagnose a cancerous mole after attending her local surgery with concerns about a mole on her foot that had changed in appearance and become itchy. The GP she saw initially told her she had nothing to worry about and sent her home.

As the mole continued to concern the woman, she returned to the surgery a few weeks later. A second GP refused to refer her to a specialist and repeated the opinion that she had nothing to worry about before sending her home. Neither doctor measured the size of the mole.

It was only on a third visit to her local surgery that the woman´s concerns were taken seriously. The third GP she saw decided that she could not remove the mole but suggested cutting away the top of it. The woman declined the suggested treatment and was referred instead to her local hospital.

At the hospital, a dermatologist removed part of the mole and sent it for tests. The result of the biopsy was that the mole was cancerous, and the woman underwent an operation to have the entire mole removed. Unfortunately, subsequent tests revealed that the cancer from the mole had metastasised, and the woman is now undergoing treatment for secondary cancer.

The woman sought legal advice about her rights and, on the advice of her solicitor, claimed compensation for the failure to diagnose a cancerous mole against the GP who had first attended her and the surgery. She alleged in her claim that, had she received an appropriate standard of care on her first visit, the cancer would have been identified sooner and her prognosis better.

The GP and the surgery both denied negligence and contested that the woman was entitled to any compensation for the failure to diagnose a cancerous mole. However, after the defendants were threatened with court action, their insurance companies settled the claim for an undisclosed six-figure sum.