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Medical failures uncovered in Sheffield inquest


An inquest held on 27th September 2023 at the Medico-Legal Centre in Sheffield has uncovered a series of “missed opportunities” that could have potentially prolonged or saved the life of Paul Johnson.

The 54-year-old father of two seemingly experienced neglect from medical professionals throughout his battle with cancer. Barrister Ruth Costello from No5 Chambers represented the family during the proceedings. Paul Johnson passed away on 18th January 2023 under the care of Macmillan Palliative Care within Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital, just months after being diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. Assistant coroner Carl Fitch concluded that neglect played a role in Mr. Johnson’s passing. He highlighted that seven different medical professionals had the opportunity to initiate further investigations and treatments, including those who were involved in Mr. Johnson’s discharge process. Mr. Johnson had a complex medical history and sought medical attention for abdominal pain and jaundice in November 2020 from Northern General hospital. A CT scan revealed a lump which could have indicated cancer, but this was not pursued further. Mr. Johnson’s condition did initially improve; however, he was readmitted to the Royal Hallamshire hospital in Sheffield in November 2022 suffering with left-sided weakness. Imaging then revealed that the initial lump had grown significantly, and a biopsy confirmed non-small cell lung cancer, which had spread through his body. Mr. Johnson’s sister Kay Hemming, brother-in-law Christopher Hemming, mother Janet Johnson and father Mac Johnson stated: “It has been extremely difficult re-living Paul’s final two years and hearing that there were multiple chances where his lung cancer could have been diagnosed and treated, which could have extended his time with us. To us, it always felt like medical professionals believed Paul wasn’t worth treating and that his health issues were entirely his fault due to how he suffered with alcohol problems. It breaks our heart knowing that in the lead up to his death, Paul felt completely worthless. Life will never be the same for us without Paul; losing him has left a huge void in our family and while nothing can ever bring him back to us at least he is now at peace and no longer suffering.” Legal experts from Lime Solicitors are investigating the possibility of taking legal action against Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which oversees the Northern General hospital. They recognised the multiple missed opportunities when investigating the 2020 CT scan findings and impressed the importance of early detection in lung cancer cases.

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