Gildeas secures settlement in misdiagnosis case

Gildeas has secured a favourable settlement against NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde after cervical smear results were misinterpreted by staff at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

Karen Dillon, 30, attended her GP surgery in August 2010 to undergo a cervical smear. This was forwarded to the pathology lab at Glasgow Royal Infirmary to be checked and the result was wrongly reported as negative.

The case advanced by Gildeas, who started representing Karen in 2013, was that a small cervical tumour had started to grow which ought to have been identified by the smear test. Had the smear been correctly reported, the tumour was still at an early stage and could have been removed without radical surgery, but the correct diagnosis did not take place until June 2011.

In the intervening months, the tumour had grown to a size which meant Karen had to undergo a radical hysterectomy – removal of the uterus and other surrounding tissue – to save her life. Fortunately the surgery was successful and the cancerous tissue removed, however Karen will no longer be able to have children as a result.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde initially denied their staff had been negligent before finally admitting in 2016 that the smear test had been negligently misinterpreted. However, that was not the end of the case, as NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde subsequently argued that had they not been negligent, the tumour was nonetheless already large enough in August 2010 to require the radical surgery which was eventually carried out. Gildeas’ expert witness disputed that and argued in the strongest possible terms that the tumour would only have been a few millimetres in size at the time.

During the case NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde made what were considered to be nuisance level or low level offers to settle the case, which were not acceptable. The case was due to proceed to a two week hearing in the Court of Session in May 2018. Shortly before that hearing was due to begin the offer was increased substantially and a settlement reached.

Karen said: “It was devastating to have been the victim of medical negligence, which is really difficult to prove. This type of case is often disputed for several years, which makes things even more difficult. To succeed, you really need to rely on your legal team and expert witnesses.

“Gildeas fought my case for three years before NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde finally admitted they had been negligent, and then another two years after they suggested that it would not have made any difference to the treatment I needed.

“My case was dealt with by David McKee, who knew which expert witnesses to go to in order to prepare the case and instructed advocates to assist with the case. I’m really grateful to Gildeas and the team they assembled to fight this on my behalf. I am fortunate that I already have a beautiful daughter from before my diagnosis and the compensation will help me provide a better life for the both of us in future.”

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