Cancer diagnosis after failure to follow up suspicious chest x-ray

21 May 2024

The failure to follow up a chest x-ray which showed a lung lesion led to a delay in our client's husband receiving a cancer diagnosis and his early death.
Cancer diagnosis after failure to follow up suspicious chest xray

The story

The husband of our client had a chest x-ray after a minor road traffic accident which, by chance, showed an unrelated lesion in his lung. However the lesion was not investigated further. Three years later he was diagnosed with advanced, incurable lung cancer, which led to his death soon after. Had the chest x-ray been followed up, he would have been diagnosed with cancer and received appropriate treatment.

The details

Our client’s husband, then aged 74, was involved in a minor car accident in 2017, in which the air bag was deployed. He had chest pains and attended A&E where a chest x-ray was taken. He was informed there was no fracture and that he should rest. An incidental finding of the x-ray was a lung lesion which required investigation, but this was not done for reasons which could not be explained. No follow up was arranged and he was not informed of the lesion.

Over time, his health began to deteriorate; he became weaker, lost weight and suffered with muscular pains. In 2020, he was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer that had spread to his pelvis. A doctor apologised that the chest x-ray taken in 2017 showed signs of a problem in his lung which had not been followed up. He was not strong enough for treatment and was referred for palliative care. He was admitted to hospital and sadly passed away soon after.

How we helped

Clinical negligence specialist Richard Bannister was instructed by our client’s widow to investigate the standard of care provided. Richard obtained an independent medical report from an oncology expert, who found that, had the chest x-ray been followed up in 2017, our client’s husband would have been referred for treatment which would have controlled the disease in the lung and his pain and deterioration would have been better managed. With earlier diagnosis and treatment, he would have survived another two to three years.

There was an acknowledged failure by the NHS to ensure that the chest x-ray was followed up, which led to a 25-month delay in acting. There was also a failure to correctly document his address, to follow up after the chest x-ray was taken.

The Outcome

Our client was extremely pleased with she received from Richard Bannister and provided the following review of her case:
“Extremely professional company. Communications very efficient and timely. Always on hand to explain any technical information relating to my case. Very courteous, and very understanding and empathetic in difficult circumstances during my claim. Cannot recommend highly enough.”

Sadly, she passed away before the claim was concluded and instructions were received from her daughter to continue.

The NHS trust made an early admission of liability, and a five-figure settlement was agreed.



This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024

Contact our experts

Sorry, there are a few problems with the information you have entered. Please correct these before continuing.


One moment please...

Thank You

Your submission has been received. We'll be in touch soon.

Who we work with

  • Brain Injury Group
  • Child Brain Injury Trust
  • Headway
  • SIA
  • Back Up
  • Macmillan
  • Danielles Flutterbyes
  • Forces
  • Bens Heroes Trust

Our accreditations

  • Accredited Personal Injury
  • Apil
  • Ama
  • Clinical Negligence
  • Legal 500
  • UK Chambers
  • The Society Of Clinical Injury Lawyers