Case Study - Negligent Biopsy

Occasionally, mistakes are made - and when they are, patients have a right to seek compensation.

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The Client was referred to the hospital by her GP for further investigation of a suspected basal cell carcinoma (skin cancer) on her face.  The hospital doctor was negligent in taking a biopsy from the wrong area of the client’s face and also in using an instrument that was larger than necessary thus leaving the client with a facial scar which she would not have otherwise had.

We carried out initial investigations, including a review of the client’s medical records from her GP and Hospital and obtained a report from an expert on the appropriate procedure for such biopsies. We also instructed a plastic surgeon to advise on the cost of remedial treatment to reduce the size and appearance of the facial scar.

Once we had all of the evidence we needed, we wrote a Letter of Claim to the hospital in question, setting out the basis of the claim and our allegations of negligence.  Because the value of the claim was relatively modest we also made an offer to settle the claim at the same time.

The NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) who handle like this can take up to 4 months to investigate the matter and to reply to the Letter of Claim.  In this case, they failed to respond within that time so we started to prepare the papers to issue at court.  However just before we sent the papers to the court the NHSLA admitted that the procedure carried out was incorrect and that the client was entitled to receive the compensation claimed for the scarring to her face.  The hospital paid our client £4,000.00 for her injury as well as paying her legal costs.

I appreciated the down to earth/no jargon approach.

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