Bowel Cancer misdiagnosis by GP led to death of Lincoln father-of-three

1 July 2014

Bowel Cancer misdiagnosis by GP led to death of Lincoln father-of-three

A judge at Nottingham County Court has awarded an undisclosed settlement for the family of a Lincoln father-of-three and bodybuilder who died after a bowel cancer misdiagnosis by his GP, originally misdiagnosing it as piles. The cancer was only discovered when it was too late.

46-year-old Mark Browne died two years ago and the High Court in Nottingham had earlier heard his GP, Dr Nicholas Smith, admit that there had been care failures after misdiagnosing Mr Browne with piles instead of cancer.

Mr Browne originally had bowel problems in autumn 2008. After passing blood, Mr Browne visited Dr Smith on December 19 of that same year but should have been referred to a cancer consultant within two weeks as per guidelines.

Mr Browne continued to have bowel problems, believing that nothing was wrong due to the assurance provided by Dr Smith. It was only when Mr Brown saw another GP in September 2009 that he was referred as an urgent case where MRI scans found a 6cm tumour.

The tumour was treated by radiation chemotherapy in an effort to shrink it enough to enable keyhole surgery. Unfortunately, the follow-up surgery in February 2010 revealed the 6cm tumour had only been reduced to 4.3cm with the finding that the cancer had spread to Mark’s lymph nodes.

Eventually the cancer spread to Mr Browne’s lungs and he died on August 9, 2012.

The Browne family legal team was represented with barrister Henry Pitchers and Neil Clayton, a solicitor at a law firm which works closely with

Neil Clayton said: "If Dr Smith had correctly referred Mark in December 2008, and Mark had been operated on shortly afterwards, it could have avoided the return of the tumour and he would in all likelihood still be alive today.

"Mark was a much-loved husband and father of three and was also a well known and respected member of his local community.

"He was was a keen bodybuilder and to see such a fit and active person suffer a slow, painful and ultimately fatal illness was heartbreaking for all his family and friends.

"Although nothing will turn back the clock, today’s settlement will provide some financial help to the family he leaves behind."

Widow Teresa said: "Mark was a very hard-working, loving husband and father. We had been married for 17 years. When he was first diagnosed with bowel cancer it was a huge shock, but he was determined not to give in.

"Just two months after the first operation in February 2010, he started training at the local gym because he was an active person who hated being stuck in the house.

"He insisted on returning to work as a road-builder in May even though the chemotherapy made him feel unwell.

"Our world was shattered when we were told in March 2011 that the cancer had spread to his lungs and it was not treatable.

"He continued to work for as long as he was able to, but in the final months he became pretty much housebound.

"My husband put his complete trust in his GP, Dr Nicholas Smith, and when he reassured him that there was nothing seriously wrong he believed him.

"In hindsight we both wished he'd got a second opinion or questioned the doctor again when things didn't clear up."

Neil spoke about the case to the BBC which can be listened to here on a podcast at the 2 hrs 23 minutes mark.

Neil also spoke about the case on BBC television here at the 14.48 mark.

If you a loved one requires advice relating to cancer misdiagnosis, the specialist cancer misdiagnosis teams at can provide free advice about the options available. You can get in touch with Neil at here if you wish to discuss a similar enquiry to that described above or to get his thoughts on any other kind of medical mistreatment enquiry, claim or complaint.