Delay in diagnosis of malignant melanoma

Posted by Patricia Wakeford on

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Mr M contacted personal injury lawyer and former nurse, Patricia Wakeford of BL Claims when he discovered that a biopsy of a concerning mole was incorrectly reported as benign. This led to a delay in diagnosis and removal of nine months. By this point the melanoma had changed from radial (spreading across) to vertical growth (growing down into the skin layers).

Mr M was very lucky that his GP, who referred him to St Mary's hospital on the Isle of Wight initially, asked him why the mole had not been removed when he saw him six months later. Mr M was immediately referred back to hospital and the incorrect histopathology report was appreciated. Surgery was carried out to remove the mole on the scalp which now required a wider and deeper excision.

Mr M was left with a very obvious area on his scalp that made him very self conscious. He developed psychological symptoms and would avoid going out in the sun and wore a hat at all times. He is still undergoing follow up to ensure that there is no recurrence due to the delay in diagnosis and removal of the melanoma.

Mr M contacted Patricia Wakeford at BL Claims  to investigate a clinical negligence claim. He was understandly concerned and wanted to make sure that this wouldn't happen to another patient. It was also especially upsetting for him as his father had died of skin cancer some years before.

Investigations were commenced and a report was obtained indicating that the delay had led to the melanoma becoming more aggressive which could impact on Mr M in the future.

The trust admitted liability and apologised to Mr M. A five figure sum was agreed in settlement. Mr M hopes that procedures have been put in place to ensure that this does not happen again. 

If you have been affected by a delayed or misdiagnosis, our clinical negligence team may be able to help you receive the compensation you need for your journey of recovery.

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If you would like to talk to someone and discuss a potential claim please call us on 0344 620 6600 anytime between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday, or if you would prefer you can email us at

About the Author

Patricia is a Senior Associate, in our Clinical Negligence team, and is also a qualified midwife with many years of experience working in the NHS.

Patricia Wakeford
Email Patricia
023 8085 7310

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