Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 12°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
Motorists experienced delays on the A14 (file pic).

Traffic on the A14 near Ipswich has returned to normal following a two-vehicle crash earlier this morning.

Suffolk County Council headquarters; Endeavour House, Ipswich.

How Suffolk schools are rated by local education chiefs is being kept secret – because they say releasing the information is “not in the public interest”.

David Lloyd Leisure Ltd, Ipswich

A court has heard how a noxious substance released into a swimming pool happened while staff were trying to restart its pumps.

Some of the floral tributes left by the community

A Suffolk businessman who murdered his estranged wife with an axe before jumping to his death from a town centre car park was treated at a mental health unit the week before the tragedy, an inquest has heard.

Kitchen fire is extinguished in Lowestoft.

Fire crews from Lowestoft have extinguished a kitchen blaze.

Arrests made over shop ram raid.

Two men have been arrested in connection with a ram raid at a convenience store in Ipswich last Thursday.

Two men arrested over filling station burglary in Ipswich.

Two men have been arrested in connection with the burglary of a petrol station on the Chantry estate in Ipswich.

A 24-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the stabbing of two people in Leiston earleir this year.

A fifth person has been arrested in connection with the stabbing of a man and a teenage boy in Leiston in April.

Police are investigating the incident

Police are investigating a burglary at a garden centre in Sturmer, Essex.

Robbie Warner

A day held in memory of a 19-year-old from Suffolk who died while at university has raised more than £5,000.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages