reported in the Daily Echo on 5 April, following the Coroner's Inquest. 

Mr Lane died in January 2009 at the Royal Hampshire Hospital, based at Winchester. Unfortunately the inquest was not concluded before Southampton Coroner, Keith Wiseman until recently.

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Failure of diagnosis led to death of Mr Raymond Lane

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The report in the Echo indicates that the Police and the CPS were initially involved, although charges of gross negligence were not pursued, (necessary for a criminal prosecution of corporate manslaughter). I presume that this is the reason why it has taken so long for Mr Lane's family to obtain any kind of closure at his inquest.

The Coroner found that Mr Lane died as a result of a failure to diagnose a benign brain tumour, from which he would most likely recovered, had it been diagnosed. As a consequence of the failure to diagnose, the clinicians treating Mr Lane performed a lumbar puncture, which proved to be fatal.  

The radiologist involved in Mr Lane's care, Dr Cheetham, seems to have been heavily criticised by the coroner for failing to spot the symptoms of a brain tumour, but Mr Wiseman was also critical of reporting and checking procedures that had been in place at the Winchester hospital at the time. These have apparently now been greatly improved and the Coroner was keen to point out that Dr Cheetham's record is otherwise unblemished.

As a clinical negligence solicitor, I have acted for clients who have been unfortunate enough to suffer from undiagnosed benign brain tumours, although thankfully to date, these have not resulted in death within the time frame considered in Mr Lane's case.

The presence of any brain tumour, whether benign or malignant, is of grave concern to both those diagnosed, and their clinicians. Even if non-malignant, benign brain tumours often have the capacity to increase in size, presenting a real risk of brain damage and ultimately death and therefore the need for prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment is significant.

I am very sorry that Mr Lane does not appear to have received an appropriate level of treatment from the various medical clinicians that he saw, and of course my thoughts are with his family. Mr Wiseman seems to have accepted that changes have been made at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which has now taken over the governance of the Royal Hampshire County Hospital, and I do hope that any such incidents are avoided in the future.

Kym Provan
Senior Solicitor - Clinical Negligence team

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