Delayed cancer diagnosis heartbreak for Mexborough family

3 September 2014

The family of the Mexborough woman who died of cancer say they are heartbroken her diagnosis was missed and delayed. Rotherham Hospital failed to tell 48-year-old Lynda Dunn she had lung cancer or treat the condition for three months. She died in November 2011.

The hospital has now paid the family compensation after the matter was settled out of court with help from Barnsley solicitors Raleys.

Mrs Dunn’s husband, Graham Dunn, said: “We are heartbroken to have lost her, but what makes it worse is that the hospital failed to tell her she was ill and failed to treat her until it was too late.”

Lynda Dunn was 48 when started suffering from seizures in early July 2011. On each occasion she was admitted to Rotherham Hospital. She underwent a chest x-ray on 22nd July 2011 which revealed she had lung cancer. This information, however, was not passed to Mrs Dunn and a copy of the x-ray was not sent to her GP. At this point, Lynda had no idea she was suffering from lung cancer.

She continued to have seizures throughout August 2011 and also developed chest and back pain. She was admitted to Rotherham Hospital again on 5th October 2011 and was given another chest x-ray. This, again, revealed the tumour and further tests were undertaken but again, Mrs Dunn was not informed about it. She was discharged without learning about the lung cancer.

12 days later her conditioned worsened and she was admitted again. She was told of her cancer diagnosis on 27th October 2011 – over three months after it was initially discovered.

Lynda was told that the cancer had spread to her brain. Her condition deteriorated very quickly and she became too ill to have treatment. She died three weeks later on 17th November 2011.

Lynda’s husband, Graham, contacted Raleys to pursue a claim of medical negligence against the hospital.

Rotherham Hospital admitted that she should have been told of the results of the chest x-ray in July 2011 and that she should have been referred for chemotherapy. Had she undergone treatment, she would not have died in November 2011, but could have survived another two months.

Graham said: “Not only would Lynda have lived longer, she would have had time to get her affairs in order and say goodbyes that she never had the chance to say.”

Lynda’s daughter Danielle Dunn said: “Mum should have been told she had cancer months before. By the time she was told, it was too late. We missed out on valuable time we could have spent together as a family and we don’t want other families to have to go through the same thing.”

Scott Haslam, Solicitor at Raleys Solicitors said: “This is a very sad case but unfortunately it is not the only one of its kind. All too often we are approached by families who have lost a loved one to cancer, only to find that there has been a substantial delay in reaching a diagnosis or commencing treatment. Such a delay can often allow a cancer to spread rendering a cure no longer possible. The claim for compensation may be over but the family want to continue to raise awareness to ensure this does not happen to anyone else.”

Notes to editor

Attached photograph shows Lynda Dunn.

Please note the family will not do media interviews and there are no other photos available.

Please note we can supply (for background information ONLY – strictly NOT for publication) a letter from the hospital admitting Lynda Dunn could have lived two months longer.

Issued on behalf of Raleys Solicitors, www.raleys.co.uk

For further information call 01226 603 223 or email kate.swinscoe@raleys.co.uk

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