A WIDOW has settled a claim against the trust which runs Furness General Hospital after doctors failed to spot her late husband's throat cancer. 

The woman's husband was treated in the ear, nose and throat department at FGH over a number of years for throat problems. He suffered from a hoarse voice, a painful throat and swallowing difficulties. 

Various investigations were carried out, including vocal cord biopsies and CT scans, but no firm diagnosis was made. In February 2013 examination by the surgeon found a lump on the side of the man’s neck. He began to suffer from weight loss and continued to have a sore throat and swallowing difficulties.

Despite all of these suspicious symptoms the staff at the hospital failed to diagnose the condition and the patient's problems worsened. In the autumn of 2013 he was finding it difficult to swallow solid foods. 

The man and his wife, who agreed their story could be told through their solicitor on condition of anonymity, eventually became so concerned that the investigations at Furness General Hospital were inadequate and asked their GP for a referral for a second opinion.

The patient was seen at Blackpool Victoria Hospital in January 2014 and was immediately diagnosed as suffering from a squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx.

The cancer was by this time so far advanced that palliative treatment began. Sadly, he passed away in June 2014.

Ulverston-based clinical negligence solicitor David Dawson was instructed to bring a claim against the hospital.

Investigations and expert evidence confirmed that with proper treatment, the man's cancer ought to have been diagnosed in the spring of 2013; and had that have happened it was likely that his life would have been extended by two to three years, and that he would have benefited from better palliative care which would have eased the suffering he went through.

Mr Dawson said: "It is to the credit of the hospital that liability for the negligent treatment was admitted at an early stage.

"We often see cases of this type where the hospital will vigorously defend the claim but on this occasion the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay accepted its responsibility to compensate my client without forcing her to bring court action, and after some negotiation a significant five figure sum in compensation was agreed, with the trust also agreeing to pay legal costs."

Dr David Walker, medical director at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, said: “On behalf of the Trust, I’d like to offer my sincere apologies to the family for the treatment that their loved one received at Furness General Hospital leading up to his sad death in 2014.”