Damages for man after hospital failed to tell him he had cancer


A man has won damages from an NHS trust over a London hospital's failure to tell him he had cancer.

Spaniard Raul Guiu Gallardo, 46, who came to the UK in 2000 to work in the computer software industry, was unaware that he had the condition for nearly a decade.

In January 2001, he was admitted to Charing Cross Hospital where he underwent surgery for what he believed was a bleeding stomach ulcer, but surgeons had removed a large gastrointestinal stromal tumour.

Mr Gallardo's lawyers told London's High Court he was never informed of the malignancy and the risk that it might recur or that he would need regular monitoring and CT scans.

He was not told of his diagnosis until November 2010 when it came as a "grave shock" and, the following year, he had further major surgery after the cancer returned.

Mr Gallardo, who has returned to Spain, faces another operation in the near future.

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust said Mr Gallardo was properly informed after surgery of the malignancy and the risk of recurrence.

It argued that any breach of duty occurred when he was a private patient in the post-operative period and that it was not its responsibility.

In a ruling on Friday, Judge Peter Hughes ruled that the trust failed to discharge its duty to Mr Gallardo and awarded him £38,731 plus interest.

He said that at no time was the opportunity taken - as it ought to have been - to give Mr Gallardo a full and detailed explanation of what had happened to him.

It was not out of place to say Mr Gallardo was "lost to the system".

He added: "There is no evidence at all that either he or his GP was appropriately advised of the need for future check-ups and CT scans.

"This information was vital both for the patient, for his GP, and for those caring for him in the future.

"The omission to set this out in writing is, in my judgment, a glaring failure in itself."

The award reflected Mr Gallardo's profound shock and distress, the avoidable additional pain and discomfort, the need for more complex surgery, lost employment prospects and other expenses.

Mr Gallardo's solicitor, Agata Usewicz, of law firm Hodge Jones & Allen, said: "My client suffered for nearly a decade from a condition that he wasn't aware that he had, and as such was denied the treatment which may have improved the quality of his life.

"We are very pleased that he has today finally received the answers he has been seeking."

Mr Gallardo said: "I am happy that the judge ruled in my favour. I feel vindicated but also very disappointed with the way the hospital dealt with everything.

"A significant amount of time and money has been spent fighting a case that they should have admitted from the beginning."