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Written by Susan Brown

In September 2011 Colin* asked us to represent his son Robert* in a case of hospital negligence which resulted in a delay of diagnosis of Ewings Sarcoma.

In September 2011 Colin and his son Robert, aged 6, attended A&E at St Richards Hospital in Chichester. Robert was complaining of severe leg pain. He was reviewed by a doctor and subsequently discharged with a diagnosis of muscular strain.

The next night Robert's condition had worsened and he was unable to walk. Again he was brought to A&E this time to the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth. The hospital staff reviewed him and he underwent an X Ray. Robert was prescribed painkillers and again discharged with advice to see his GP if there were any further concerns.

Robert remained in pain and his parents took him back to the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth A&E department the following night. He was again seen by a Doctor and again discharged with advice to see his GP if the pain continued.

Robert's condition then deteriorated – he was continuing to rub his legs and saying the pain was worse. The next night Colin brought Robert back to St Richards Hospital in Chichester. This time he was admitted and was reviewed by the paediatric and orthopaedic teams. He underwent an MRI spinal scan which revealed a spinal tumour. Robert was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma – a cancer of the bone.

Robert underwent spinal surgery and chemotherapy treatment. He was left disabled from the waist down as a result of the pressure of the tumour on his spinal cord, and suffered with bowel and bladder incontinence.

In February 2013 Robert's cancer recurred following remission. Very sadly Robert passed away in April 2013. His father continued with the claim.

Boyes Turner medical negligence lawyers sent a letter to the NHS Trust representing the hospitals in August 2012, inviting them to admit the failures made which delayed Robert's diagnosis. It was alleged that if Robert had been admitted on the second occasion of attending A&E, or thereafter, the tumour would have been diagnosed, and an operation could have been carried out to prevent his paralysis and incontinence issues.

After investigating the incident one NHS Trust responded and admitted that an MRI scan should have occurred earlier, and that if it had been carried out earlier, the paralysis and incontinence would have been avoided.

After negotiations between the parties a £50,000 settlement was achieved for Robert's family.

There was no cost to Colin in bringing this claim. The matter was originally funded by Legal Aid as Robert was so young. When he died, this funding was discontinued, but we were able to continue to represent the family by way of a no win, no fee agreement.

*The claimants name has been changed for legal reasons.