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GP launches £200k legal battle over claims medic failed to spot cancer that killed her husband

Laurence Shaw met Keren when he was a young registrar at Luton and Dunstable Hospital, and she was a medical student who would go on to become a doctor herself.  They married in 1985

A retired doctor blames a fellow doctor for not spotting the skin cancer that would kill her beloved husband – also a top doctor.

The extraordinary scenario which pits two doctors against the death of a third has emerged in legal documents lodged at the High Court.

Retired GP Keren Shaw, 65, has launched a legal battle for compensation of more than £200,000 after her husband, fertility expert Laurence Shaw, died from initially missed cancer, learned MailOnline.

She blames consultant pathologist Dr Brigid Maguire, 60, for her death, saying she misdiagnosed a cancerous lesion on her back as just a benign mole.

Consequently, Mr. Shaw went untreated, and it took another two years before Mr. Shaw was properly diagnosed with malignant melanoma, and it spread.

He was later diagnosed with metastatic cancer in June 2013 and died aged 61 from the disease on 9 January 2014 at Kent and Canterbury Hospital.

Laurence Shaw met Keren when he was a young registrar at Luton and Dunstable Hospital, and she was a medical student who would go on to become a doctor herself.  They married in 1985

Laurence Shaw met Keren when he was a young registrar at Luton and Dunstable Hospital, and she was a medical student who would go on to become a doctor herself. They married in 1985

Dr Brigid Maguire, 60, is accused of misdiagnosing a cancerous lesion on Laurence's back as just a benign mole

Dr Brigid Maguire, 60, is accused of misdiagnosing a cancerous lesion on Laurence’s back as just a benign mole

Mr Shaw met his future wife Keren when he was a young registrar at Luton and Dunstable Hospital. She was a medical student and would become a doctor herself.

They married in 1985 and soon moved to Kent where they had three children.

He spent twenty years working at QEQM Hospital in Margate and Kent and Canterbury Hospital, as a consultant in obstetrics and gynecology, and he worked at London Bridge Fertility Center before setting up his own clinic in Canterbury.

In 2007 he noticed lesions on his body and a consultant dermatologist feared a lesion on his lower back was cancerous, according to a complaint in the High Court in London.

Samples were sent to the consultant pathologist, Dr. Maguire, who reported them to be benign and as a result he was discharged without follow-up or treatment, according to the claim.

The lesion on his back returned and was removed by Dr. Hudson-Peacock on October 30, 2009 and sent for examination. It was reported to be a recurrent malignant melanoma, and the previous sample was re-examined and found to have the appearance of a malignancy that should have been detected at the time, is it alleged.

Dr Shaw, Woodnesborough, near Sandwich, Kent, says if her husband's condition had been correctly diagnosed in 2007 his death would likely have been averted

Dr Shaw, Woodnesborough, near Sandwich, Kent, says if her husband’s condition had been correctly diagnosed in 2007 his death would likely have been averted

In mid-2013, Mr Shaw developed a dry cough and tests showed he had metastatic melanoma, from which he died.

In mid-2013, Mr Shaw developed a dry cough and tests showed he had metastatic melanoma, from which he died.

The lesion was again removed in November 2009 and Mr Shaw was referred to the Royal Marsden Hospital where he underwent regular ultrasounds.

In mid-2013 he developed a dry cough and tests showed he had metastatic melanoma, from which he died.

The widow of Dr Shaw, a GP for more than two decades before retiring nine years ago, accuses Dr Maguire of negligence and says she failed to properly examine and test the sample in 2007, has allowed the sample to be misidentified as benign when it was malignant, and failed to exercise due skill, care, and diligence.

Dr Maguire’s report of the 2007 specimens was a ‘grade 1 failure’, as defined by the Royal College of Pathologists, which was a misdiagnosis likely to have some effect on clinical management and possible outcomes , as well as a grade B1 failure, which is a surprising diagnosis to behold from any pathologist, of obvious cancer being reported as benign, according to the claim.

Dr Shaw, Woodnesborough, near Sandwich, Kent, says if her husband’s condition had been correctly diagnosed in 2007 his death would likely have been averted.

Due to the delay in diagnosis, he suffered from pain, discomfort, loss of functionality and enjoyment until his death, she says. Dr Shaw asks for permission to file her application despite being out of time, saying she instructed Whitehead Monkton’s lawyers just ten months after his death, but the firm has not moved the case forward until the expiry of the limitation period.

The samples at the heart of the complaint are still available, and all clinicians are able to testify, while the only witness unable to testify is her husband. Dr. Maguire, she says, will not be unduly harmed by a delay in presenting the claim.

Dr Shaw says she will be harmed by having to sue Whitehead Monkton for professional negligence, while her claim will be based on a loss of chance to win damages, which could be less than the damages awarded in this trial.

The claim was filed by David Greenhaugh of Clarkson Wright and Jakes.

Dr Maguire, who lives with her husband in Willesborough, Ashford, did not respond to a request for comment.

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