We were consulted two years ago by the widower of a lady who had died in very difficult circumstances in a local hospital following complications in relation to her end of life chemotherapy treatment. We were asked to investigate possible errors in her end of life treatment which complicated events relating to her death. Our enquiries revealed that there had been errors in the prescribed chemotherapy treatment that caused significant avoidable complications leading ultimately to her painful and premature death.

During the course of our enquiries, we advised that it would be sensible to investigate whether there had been any additional errors in relation to earlier treatment and, in particular, the deceased’s diagnosis and treatment in relation to her original cancer condition. Tragically, these investigations led to the conclusion that this was also the case and that, but for errors which had occurred in relation to earlier assessment and diagnosis, it was probable that the cancer which was present should have been identified at an earlier stage and, had that been the case, the progression of the cancer would have been prevented — saving the life of the deceased.

This case led to a substantial award of damages but, most importantly, led to the deceased’s family being provided with much needed answers as to the cause of their family member’s death. In addition, following investigations undertaken by the hospital which was involved, assurances were given that changes would be made in relation to procedures and treatment with the intention of avoiding a similar tragedy occurring to any other family in the future.