Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust admitted its failure in recalling Denise Fallon, 68, for annual reviews after treating her for lung cancer was negligent.
The trust denied the lack of follow-up care caused a delay in diagnosis, leading to Mrs Fallon requiring two procedures to drain fluid from her lungs and suffer from symptoms of ill health that could have been treated earlier.
After surgery to remove a small cancerous area on her lung in 2014, Mrs Fallon was placed on a schedule of six-monthly reviews. Having attended appointments for around a year she was not called back for further reviews, as the trust had inadvertently removed her from their review list without her knowledge and discharged her from their care.
In the following years, Mrs Fallon attributed her increasing breathlessness to having had part of her lung removed. However, when she returned to her GP in 2019 and received a referral for further tests, she was told the cancer had returned and it was too advanced to be successfully treated.
After undergoing procedures to drain her lungs she was told she only had up to two years left to live.
Despite admitting its negligence, the trust denied causing a delay to diagnosis, meaning a judge would decide the case in a two-day trial.
Describing her experience, Mrs Fallon said: “I didn’t want to have to go to court, but I didn’t want to back down as I feel it is important that such significant mistakes are admitted and addressed. If they are not, changes won’t be made.
“Giving evidence was difficult. I was being asked to recall details of my treatment, and asked questions about the evidence we had put forward, in a way which made me feel like I was being accused of not being truthful. They made me feel like I was on trial, which of course I wasn’t.”
After hearing the evidence, the judge ruled that had the trust continued annual reviews of Mrs Fallon, the return of her cancer would have been diagnosed in 2018, and a different course of treatment would have been followed.
The judge decided that Mrs Fallon would have avoided the need to have fluid drained from her lungs as well as two separate hospital admissions and the increase in symptoms she experienced.
Mrs Fallon added that she’s “looking forward now and putting this behind me.”
She said: “If I’d had any sense that I should’ve been having more reviews I would have been there each and every time, because I knew it was my life at stake.
“I’ve done all I can to fight this. I was told in 2019 I had 18 months to two years to live, but I’m still here.
"I recently took my grandson to his first day at primary school and that was something I never thought I’d be able to do. He never looked back and looked like he didn’t have a worry in the world. It was wonderful and I want to focus on the positives in life.”