GP launches £200k legal battle over claims medic failed to spot cancer that killed her husband

GP launches £200k legal battle over claims medic failed to spot cancer that killed her husband

EXCLUSIVE: Retired GP launches £200,000 legal battle against fellow medic over claims she failed to spot the skin cancer that killed her fertility doctor husband

  • Retired GP blames medic for failing to spot skin cancer that killed her husband
  • Laurence Shaw died aged 61 from metastatic cancer on January 9, 2014
  • Keren Shaw has launched a legal battle for compensation of over £200,000 

A retired doctor blames a fellow medic for failing to spot the skin cancer that would kill her beloved husband – also a top doctor.

The extraordinary scenario which pits two doctors against each other over the death of a third emerged in legal papers filed at the High Court.

Retired GP Keren Shaw, 65, has launched a legal battle for compensation of more than £200,000 after her husband, fertility expert Laurence Shaw, died from the originally missed cancer, MailOnline has learned.

She blames consultant pathologist Dr Brigid Maguire, 60, for his death, saying she wrongly diagnosed a cancerous lesion on his back as being just a benign mole.

Mr Shaw consequently was not treated, and it was another two years before Mr Shaw was correctly diagnosed with malignant melanoma, and this spread.

He was then diagnosed with metastatic cancer in June 2013, and died aged 61 from the disease on January 9 2014 at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital.

Laurence Shaw met Keren when he was a young registrar at Luton and Dunstable Hospital, and she was a medical student who would go on to qualify as a doctor herself. They married in 1985

Dr Brigid Maguire, 60, is accused of wrongly diagnosing a cancerous lesion on Laurence's back as being just a benign mole

Dr Brigid Maguire, 60, is accused of wrongly diagnosing a cancerous lesion on Laurence’s back as being just a benign mole

Mr Shaw met his future wife Keren when he was a young registrar at Luton and Dunstable Hospital, and she was a medical student who would go on to qualify as a doctor herself.

They married in 1985 and soon moved to Kent where they had three children.

He spent twenty years working at the QEQM Hospital in Margate, and in Kent and Canterbury Hospital, as a consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology, and he worked at the London Bridge Fertility Centre before setting up his own clinic in Canterbury.

In 2007, he noticed lesions on his body, and a consultant dermatologist was worried that a lesion on his lower back could be cancerous, according to a claim issued in London’s High Court.

Samples were sent to consultant pathologist Dr Maguire, who reported that they were benign, and as a result he was discharged without follow-up or treatment, the claim says.

The lesion on his back returned and was removed by Dr Hudson-Peacock on October 30 2009, and sent for examination. It was reported to be a recurring malignant melanoma, and the earlier sample was examined again and found to have the appearance of malignancy which should have been picked up at the time, it is alleged.

Dr Shaw, Woodnesborough, near Sandwich, Kent, says that if her husband’s condition had been correctly diagnosed in 2007, his death would probably have been avoided

Dr Shaw, Woodnesborough, near Sandwich, Kent, says that if her husband’s condition had been correctly diagnosed in 2007, his death would probably have been avoided

In mid-2013, Mr Shaw developed a dry cough, and tests showed he had metastatic melanoma, from which he died

In mid-2013, Mr Shaw developed a dry cough, and tests showed he had metastatic melanoma, from which he died

The lesion was removed again in November 2009, and Mr Shaw was referred to the Royal Marsden Hospital where he was given regular ultrasound scans.

In mid-2013, he developed a dry cough, and tests showed he had metastatic melanoma, from which he died.

Dr Shaw’s widow, a GP for more than two decades before retiring nine years ago, accuses Dr Maguire of negligence, and says she failed to properly examine and analyse the sample in 2007, allowed the sample to be incorrectly identified as benign when it was malignant, and failed to exercise reasonable skill, care and diligence.

Dr Maguire’s report on the 2007 samples was a ‘category 1 failure’, as set out by the Royal College of Pathologists, which was a diagnostic error likely to have a definite effect on clinical management and possible outcome, as well as a category B1 failure, which is a diagnosis surprising to see from any pathologist, of an obvious cancer being reported as benign, the claim says.

Dr Shaw, Woodnesborough, near Sandwich, Kent, says that if her husband’s condition had been correctly diagnosed in 2007, his death would probably have been avoided.

Because of the delay in diagnosis, he suffered pain, discomfort, loss of functionality, and amenity until his death, she says. Dr Shaw is seeking permission for her claim to be brought although it is out of time, saying she instructed solicitors Whitehead Monkton just ten months after his death, but the firm failed to progress the case until the limitation period had expired.

The samples at the heart of the claim are still available, and all the clinicians are able to give evidence, while the only witness unable to give evidence is her husband. Dr Maguire, she says, will not be unduly prejudiced by delay in bringing the claim.

Dr Shaw says she will be prejudiced by having to bring a claim against Whitehead Monkton for professional negligence, when her claim will be based on a loss of chance of winning damages, which might be lower than the damages awarded in this lawsuit.

The claim was issued by David Greenhaugh of Clarkson Wright and Jakes.

Dr Maguire, who lives with her husband in Willesborough, Ashford, didn’t respond to an approach for comment.

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Sarah Limbrick

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