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A case in Delayed Diagnosis of Cancer and Development of a Steroid Dependency was Settled for $1.2 Million

Case Overview
  • Our client underwent radiological investigations a year apart, and on both occasions, the attending radiological failed to identify suspicious features.
  • As a consequence, our client’s cancer was allowed to continue to advance without diagnosis or treatment for a further 6 months.
  • Due to which our client was diagnosed with Addison’s syndrome due to being prescribed steroids for over a year.

Our client underwent radiological investigations nearly a year apart, and on both occasions, the attending radiological failed to identify suspicious features. As a consequence, our client’s cancer was allowed to continue to advance without diagnosis or treatment for a further 6 months.

As a result of the delay in treatment, our client suffered ongoing vision problems, and further, the unnecessary prescribing of steroids for over a year, resulted in our client suffering a permanent steroid dependency with Addison’s syndrome. 

Our Approach

We obtained a number of expert opinions on behalf of our client which established that the nasophayngeal adenocarcinoma could have been diagnosed in 2014 and again in further scans taken in early 2015. Expert radiological opinion supported the contention that in 2 separate CT Scans, the attending radiologists had missed identifying our client’s cancer.  Next we retained expert Oncologists to address the issue as to what that delay meant to our client’s cancer, stating that the staging of a cancer based on the CT Scans of 2014 and 2015 did show that there was an advancement of cancer which could have been avoided, if treatment had of commenced earlier.  We also sought expert opinion in relation to the development of steroid dependency and Addisons syndrome which developed as a result of a delay in the diagnosis of hypoadrenalism. Our client was prescribed steroids for a period of over 2 years. Addisons syndrome, being a debilitating condition in which causes an autoimmune response that can lead to nausea, vomiting, or diarrhoea, dizziness on standing mental confusion and a loss of consciousness.

At issue in the proceedings was what would have been the difference in the outcome, had a diagnosis made in 2014 or early 2015. The defendants had denied liability and in fact asserted that the attending radiologists had done nothing wrong.  The defendant’s position was also that, even if there was a delay in diagnosis, that delay was not attributable to any ongoing loss suffered by our client.

It was asserted on behalf of our client that the delay resulted him not being able to return to his employment, being housebound as a result of the fear of an Addisons crisis, which would frequently result in him falling unconscious and further injuring himself.

The parties had agreed to attend a mediation to explore the possibility of agreeing to a settlement without the need to go to hearing.

The Result

A mediation took place in this matter in late 2020, with the parties finally agreeing to a settlement in the sum of $1.2 million.

Susan Newman Lawyer

Susan Newman

Senior Associate
Have enough courage to start and enough heart to finish. – Jessica N. S. Yourko
Frequently Asked Questions

More Information

Overall, to win a favourable judgment, you must be able to prove four elements of medical negligence including demonstrating the practitioner had a duty of care, that they breached said the duty of care, that there is clear causation between such breach and the harm suffered, and finally what damaged have occurred.

Negligence is a failure to exercise the care that another in the same position would prudently exercise. The harm caused by negligence is considered to be due to carelessness, rather than a specific intent or determination to cause harm.

While negligence can include misconduct in a variety of circumstances, malpractice is reserved for professionals who fall grossly short of their obligations — and harm others in the process. As a result, malpractice is often called “professional negligence”. If a licensed professional (such as a doctor, lawyer, or accountant) fails to provide the accepted standard of care and subsequently causes harm to the plaintiff, this form of negligence may be known as malpractice.

Medical malpractice is specifically used in reference to medical workers who have committed acts of negligence.


If you have been injured or an existing condition has got worse following a medical procedure, or even just a visit to the doctor, then you may have been the victim of medical negligence and you may be eligible to make medical negligence claims against the professional who caused your injury.

If you can first show that you have suffered harm, and secondly, that a medical professional failed in their duty of care towards you then you may be entitled to compensation.



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