Case Study: Mismanaged Treatment of Bladder Cancer

Compensation: £17,500

Walter, 73 years old

A widow has received £17,500 compensation following hospital negligence when booking appointments which led to a delay of surgery for her husband.

When 73 year old Walter complained of blood in his urine his GP referred him to the urology department at his local hospital where he underwent an ultrasound scan and a cystoscopy (camera into the bladder) and bladder cancer was diagnosed. He was placed on the waiting list for a TURT (transurethral resection of tumour) but because of a clerical error was listed for a TURP (transurethral resection of the prostate) which is usually a less urgent operation.

An incidental finding of the bladder scan was an aortic aneurysm (weakness in the wall of a major blood vessel) and Walter was referred to a vascular surgeon for possible surgery.

Appointment confusion

By chance Walter received two appointments from two different hospitals for the same day. One was for a pre-op assessment for his bladder cancer operation and the other was to see the vascular surgeon, but Walter did not realise this. He telephoned the hospital in order to clarify things and was told he need only attend one of the appointments.

Walter attended the appointment with the vascular surgeon and was told he would be sent for again in 12 months time for a repeat scan and, despite having been told earlier that he had bladder cancer requiring urgent treatment, he accepted this without question.

Walter was listed for surgery (recorded as TURP) twice but he never received notification of either of these appointments so did not attend. No attempt was made by the Trust to find out why Walter had not attended for surgery and he was taken off the waiting list.

Tragic death

About 6 months later Walter again consulted his GP as he was passing clots of blood in his urine causing him a great deal of pain. He was referred immediately to the hospital where he underwent a TURT, the operation he should have had a year previously. By this stage his bladder cancer was very advanced and he died 5 months later despite a course of chemotherapy.

The claim

The case was settled by JMW solicitors for £17,500 and Walter’s widow received an apology from the hospital.

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