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Woman sues over delay in diagnosis

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

A terminally ill woman is suing the NHS after being forced to wait five months to be seen after being given an ‘urgent’ referral by her GP. 35-year-old Katie Maytum, a mother of two, was suspected of having cancer after she found a lump in her breast in 2010, aged 31. Her GP made an urgent referral for her to be seen by a consultant at the local hospital, but she had to wait five months to be seen.

Official regulations from NICE – the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence – maintain that Miss Maytum should have been seen within a two-week window. Their guidelines state that all women over the age of 30 with a discrete lump, which has been there for over six weeks, should be given an urgent referral.

Could have been cured

The consultant who dealt with her case, however, Vummiti Muralikrishnan, downgraded her to a routine case seeing as she was younger than 35.  He said in court that he was using local guidelines which stated that women under 35, without “alarming symtoms”, should not be treated as urgent. He had found these guidelines on the South West Wales Cancer Network website.

After finally being diagnosed and treated in January 2011, which involved surgery and chemotherapy, Miss Maytum was informed in April 2014 that her cancer had spread and that she would only live for a further two years. Miss Maytum said, had it not been for the delay in her treatment, she could have been cured.

Miss Maytum has had to give up her job and her studying to be a mental health nurse because of poor health.

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