November is Mouth Cancer Action Month, an annual campaign run by the Oral Health Foundation to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of mouth cancer.
This year we share Michael’s story, who sadly passed away in September 2018 due to cancer of the face and neck. His family have asked Medical Accident Group to assist in the investigation of a clinical negligence claim to seek justice and compensation for bereavement, loss of earnings, loss of services, funeral expenses and more.
Around January 2016, Michael noticed a lump on the underside of his right jaw; he went to his GP in the middle of April. At this point he was experiencing shocks in his jaw and the lump was approximately the size of a cocktail sausage.
The GP was unhappy with the appearance of the lump and referred him immediately to Sandwell Hospital. The appointment was approximately one week later, at which point he saw a local registrar in ENT and underwent a biopsy. However, no x-rays were taken and he never received the results of his biopsy.
Michael’s care was transferred to an ENT Consultant at City Hospital, where he had an MRI, x-ray and ultrasound of the neck. Michael was told he didn’t have cancer, but instead a sebaceous cyst, and was also advised that he was suffering with diabetes. Later that month, Michael had an operation to remove the cyst but received no follow-up appointments, as they were confident it was just a cyst and that all the necessary action had be taken.
Following the surgery, Michael returned to his GP on four of five occasions, seeing different GPs each time, as the wound started to weep. During consultations, the GP did not remove the dressing which had been placed over the wound, nor did the GP examine the face in anyway but simply prescribed antibiotics advising that it was an infection. He was not advised to return to the hospital at any point.
Tragedy follows as cancer confirmed
It wasn’t until December, after countless appointments and a non-urgent referral back to Sandwell Hospital, that Michael took himself to A&E at Queen Elizabeth Hospital. He received an immediate biopsy and, approximately one week later, was told that he had cancer of the face and neck.
In March 2017, Michael received two consecutive complex operations, enduring over 20 hours of surgery at both intervals, to remove the cancerous growth and replace with muscle grafts from different areas of the body, after the initial operation was unsuccessful. Seven months later, staff advised him that the cancer was terminal and had approximately 12 months to live.
Michael contracted sepsis in February 2018, which he overcame, and received various courses of radiotherapy in the following months. Sadly, he passed away on 15 September 2018.
Seeking justice for medical negligence
Ally Taft at Medical Accident Group was contacted by Michael’s family, who were left devastated and confused by the treatment, to help find answers. The team, are bringing a claim which will comprise of PSLA, loss of earnings, loss of services, statutory bereavement award, and funeral expenses.