Brenda was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer in 2017 and sadly passed away in 2018, several years earlier than she would have if she had been treated appropriately. Brenda and her family came to Medical Accident Group’s Ally Taft, to seek justice and compensation.
In around April 2017, Brenda was rushed into hospital with severe stomach pains and a few days later was diagnosed with terminal hepatocellular carcinoma, a type of liver cancer. In addition to the tumour on her liver, she had a blockage in her artery meaning that the cancer was inoperable and there were few treatment options available to her. Brenda was advised by her GP that some blood tests from December 2014 had indicated anaemia but had not been acted upon. She wondered whether this could have led to an earlier diagnosis of her cancer.
During our investigations, it was discovered that Brenda underwent regular liver function tests due to her diabetes. Since starting these tests, Brenda was found to have abnormal liver enzymes. Numerous entries relating to these test results were found in her medical records, but no further investigations or referrals were ever made by the nurse who carried out the tests.
We discovered that Brenda’s cancer was caused by non-alcoholic fatty liver disease with cirrhosis. There was evidence of this disease as far back as 2005, but the nurse had always failed to act on abnormal test results by making an onwards referral, or even making Brenda aware that her results were abnormal.
If Brenda had been referred on to secondary care, it would been revealed that she was suffering from cirrhosis. She would have been given guidance on lifestyle modifications to try and reduce the risk of progression to liver disease. Brenda would also have been screened for hepatocellular carcinoma with six monthly ultrasound scans. Her cancer would have been diagnosed much earlier and she would have had more treatment options available to her, meaning she would have survived for several years longer than she did.
Brenda and her husband came to Ally Taft for help investigating what had gone wrong. Sadly Brenda passed away before the case concluded. Ally Taft managed to secure compensation for the failures in Brenda’s care. Brenda’s husband said that Ally Taft was “brilliant” and was pleased to see that things had improved as years later, in 2023, the GP surgery, where the nurse had worked, was nominated for a local Health and Social Care Award.
He said “Brenda brought the claim because of failures at the surgery in the hope it wouldn’t happen to others – I believe she was successful.”