Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 7°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Suffolk/Essex: Widow sues GP, claiming husband’s cancer death was avoidable

11:11 28 January 2014

Chris and Melissa

Chris and Melissa

The Suffolk widow of a father-of-four killed by cancer five years ago is suing a GP for £1.25 million with claims that his premature death was completely avoidable.

shares

Christopher Goodhead - an intensely “fit and determined” marathon runner - died aged just 41 in January 2009, nearly four years after Dr Asim Islam examined him at The Stansted Surgery, in St John’s Road, Stansted, Essex.

Mr Goodhead, who died of rectal cancer, left a widow, Melissa, now of Helmingham, Suffolk, and four sons, then aged between five and 11, London’s High Court heard.

His widow now claims that Dr Islam’s allegedly inadequate examination caused a fatal “delay in diagnosis” of her husband’s condition until mid-2007.

“By that date his cancer was unsurvivable,” her QC, Robert Seabrook, told the court.

For his part Dr Islam, who the court heard was on his first day in the job when he saw Mr Goodhead, denies any responsibility for his death.

His legal team also insists that Mr Goodhead “would have died in any event”, even if referred for immediate specialist treatment in 2005.

Mr Goodhead attended The Stansted Surgery in April 2005 complaining of rectal bleeding, court documents disclosed, but his widow’s lawyers claim the young GP “simply visually examined” his patient and failed to carry out a sufficiently thorough investigation.

Mr Seabrook claimed the medic informed his patient he had piles and - crucially - failed to warn him to return if his symptoms continued.

As a result of being reassured by the doctor, Mr Goodhead “left the surgery believing that his diagnosis was certain, non-serious, and that no further medical input was necessary”, claimed the QC.

“Had he been advised to return for review - or if symptoms continued - he would have done so,” he added.

A diagnosis of stage four cancer was only made in June 2007 - just two months after Mr Goodhead and his wife took part in the London Marathon.

Soon after he was advised to undergo urgent chemotherapy and began to experience the symptoms of virulent cancer spreading throughout his body.

Mr Goodhead - an IT expert - died at home in January 2009, but Mr Seabrook said his gritty character and exceptional fitness would have given him an optimum chance of survival had his disease been pinpointed years earlier.

“It is our case that, with competent assessment and treatment in April 2005, a diagnosis of cancer would have been made in May 2005,” he said.

“He would have been successfully treated and would have lived, or would at least have had an increased length of time to live.

“The defence case is that, even with earlier diagnosis and treatment, he would still have died on exactly the same day - or not significantly later.”

A memorial site created by his widow described Mr Goodhead as “truly a beautiful man”, who “adored” his children and endured his illness with courage and dignity.

Compensation in the case has been agreed at £1,250,000 - but only if Mr Goodhead’s widow, now called Melissa Cutting, proves that her husband would have “survived and lived” but for the alleged negligence.

The case, being heard by Mrs Justice Patterson, continues.

shares
Mark Bee, foreground with Bill Murphy from BT and Waveney MP Peter Aldous at one of the upgraded broadband boxes.

Moves to improve infrastructure in the north of Suffolk have been given a boost with the appointment of former county council leader Mark Bee to a major new role.

Former EADT Ken Rice.

Former EADT and Evening Star editor Ken Rice has died at the age of 73.

Michelle Keegan and Mark Wright arriving for the 2015 Brit Awards at the O2 Arena. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Excited crowds gathered in Bury St Edmunds today for what is being hailed the celebrity wedding of the year between Mark Wright and Michelle Keegan.

Paul Nixon has organised the Bergholt Bomb Along bike ride in aid of the Alzheimer's Society.

Hundreds of fundraisers took part in a second-annual charity bike ride raising cash for the Alzheimer’s Society today.

A 100-year-old woman who visited her childhood home she was born and grew up in has described the “unbelievable” experience.

Rosehill library in Ipswich is celebrating it's 110th birthday.Ipswich Mayor Glen Chisholm cuts the cake.

A library which has been the hub of the community in east Ipswich has today celebrated its 110th birthday.

Police are appealing for information after Townrow department store in Braintree was burgled.

Clothing has been stolen from Townrow department store in Braintree High Street this morning.

A necklace stolen during a burglary in Spirng Road, Colchester, between 12.30pm and 7.40pm on Tuesday, April 21.

Jewellery has been stolen from a house in Spring Road, Colchester.

Vintage car rally and wine tasting at Dedham Vale Vineyard Wines. Stacey Nunn and Tom Bunting.

The second classic car rally the vineyard has organised saw vintage Mustangs, Minis and Bentleys go on display.

The Whitsun Fayre in Bury St Edmunds town centre. Sebastian Shepherd (7)(left) and Finian Shepherd (3) playing on the beach in the Traverse.

Families have been enjoying a wealth of free activities in Bury St Edmunds this weekend as part of the annual Whitsun Fayre.

Most read

Topic pages