pounds 2m for victims of cancer blunder

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The Independent Online
A pounds 2m settlement has been agreed with almost 100 victims of a hospital blunder that resulted in cancer patients receiving the wrong doses of radiation, it was announced yesterday.

More than 1,000 patients at the North Staffordshire Royal Infirmary in Stoke-on-Trent received incorrect treatment after a machine was set up wrongly for nine years.

Lawyers for 95 of the victims and their relatives announced yesterday that their five-year battle for compensation had ended with the agreement for pounds 2m, plus "substantial" costs. The patients were given lower-than- prescribed doses of radiation after a computer miscalculated the amounts they should receive.

After the blunder came to light in 1992 the hospital admitted there had been a fault but had disputed whether it had caused harm. A report later said that out of 1,075 patients who had received wrong doses, more than 400 had since died and another 91 had suffered a recurrence of their cancers. It also said it was virtually impossible to say whether those who had died would have survived if it had not been for the mistake.

James Evans, chairman of the group of solicitors who fought the case, said survivors and relatives of some patients who had died would be told over the next few days exactly how much compensation they would receive. But he added: "No financial compensation can be adequate for the trauma they suffered."