Thursday, 05 August 2021

NHS sued by dead patient

THE family of a man who died of cancer is suing the NHS for alleged negligence.

THE family of a man who died of cancer is suing the NHS for alleged negligence.

Lawyers representing Tony Stevens lodged a writ with the High Court just days before he died on New Year’s Eve, aged 48.

It alleges that doctors failed to spot he had the disease almost six years ago.

Mr Stevens, who used to manage the Jet petrol station in Reading Road, Henley, was diagnosed with multiple untreatable tumours last summer.

He visited his GP in Sonning Common in July because he was experiencing pain in his torso. It had started in his back and he initially thought he had pulled a muscle while gardening but then the sensation spread.

He was referred to the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, where tests confirmed the devastating news in August.

Doctors said the growth had started in his kidneys but then spread all over his body, including his lungs, bones, lymph nodes and brain.

Mr Stevens, from Dunsden Green, was given no more than six months to live and referred to the Sue Ryder hospice at Nettlebed, which cared for him until his death.

His family are suing the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust for negligence, saying it missed the chance to diagnose him far sooner.

They say a scan at the hospital in 2010 showed clear signs of a renal cell carcinoma in a kidney but no action was taken.

The condition has a survival rate of more than 90 per cent if treated in time but this drops dramatically once it spreads.

It is resistant to radiotherapy and chemotherapy so typically part or all of the affected organ is removed, which is survivable.

The writ says the trust’s chief executive Jean O’Callaghan wrote to Mr Stevens apologising for the “severe delay in diagnosis and treatment”.

It adds: “As a result of the delay in diagnosis, Mr Stevens lost his opportunity for treatment and cure.”

In his final weeks, Mr Stevens discussed his experiences at the hospice with the Henley Standard to encourage donations to its Christmas appeal.

The campaign smashed its £7,000 target and instead made more than £21,000. Mr Stevens was told the good news shortly before he died.

The charity commended his “honesty, bravery and compassion” for sharing his story, while the trustees of Eye and Dunsden village hall, where he worked part-time as a caretaker, praised him as a “real character.”

If the action is successful, any payout will go to Mr Stevens’s estate for the benefit of his heirs.

The trust did not respond to a request for comment.

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