04/07/2019

Augustus Cullen Law Secure Substantial Damages for Plaintiff who Suffered Delayed Diagnosis of Cancerous Tumour in his Knee

The Plaintiff, who was 26 years old at the time, sustained a mild injury to his right knee. He was referred to his local Regional Hospitalfor an x-ray which reported some mild osteoarthritic changes to the knee. The Plaintiff was discharged from the hospital and no further action taken.  Approximately 7 months later,  the Plaintiff attended the Accident & Emergency Department of the same hospital having slipped and injured his right knee again. A further x-ray was taken which demonstrated a lytic lesion in theright distal femur with a pathological fracture. The Plaintiff was immediately referred for an MRI scan and a bone biopsy which confirmed a diagnosis of a Giant Cell Tumour.

The Plaintiff was referred to Dublin to attend a specialist Orthopaedic Surgeon for surgical management of the tumour. He underwent a surgical excision en bloc and reconstruction with an endoprosthesis which initially was successful.  However, 4 months later there was a recurrence of his Giant Cell Tumour which necessitated further and more extensive surgery on his right leg. Imaging had also identified multiple small nodules in his lungs which could be evidence of metastatic disease. The Plaintiff came under the care of a Consultant Oncologist who commenced him on Denusomab treatment which he continues to take and remains under continuous review.

The Plaintiff contacted Augustus Cullen Law to investigate whether or not the Giant Cell Tumour was identifiable at the time of his initial x-ray which was reported as essentially normal. Independent expert radiological evidence from England confirmed this to be the case and further evidence was obtained from a Consultant Oncologist and Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon in the UK who were of the view that an earlier diagnosis of the tumour would have avoided the pathological fracture of the tumour,  the requirement for a knee prosthesis, avoidance of the local recurrence and, crucially, avoidance of the pulmonary nodules which may be evidence of metastatic disease.

Proceedings were issued against the Health Service Executive and the matter was listed for trial on 15th October 2014. Approximately 2 weeks before the trial was due to commence, a formal admission of negligence was made on behalf of the Defendant but the issue of causation and the extent of the injuries suffered by the Plaintiff were disputed by the Defendant. Lengthy settlement negotiations took place and the matter was ultimately resolved a few days before the trial was to commence. A substantial six figure settlement was agreed upon in favour of the Plaintiff in addition to his legal costs.

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