Current Affairs

Lesbian wins ‘substantial’ payout for partner’s death

PinkNews Staff Writer December 7, 2009
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A lesbian whose civil partner died after her cancer was wrongly diagnosed has won a landmark case for compensation.

Tina Lane, 42, of Dorset, died of ovarian cancer in February. A scan showing a tumour was mistakenly filed away by a temporary clerical assistant, rather than being given to Lane’s consultant.

Her partner, Liz Austin, 38, was awarded undisclosed but “substantial” damages against the Winchester and Eastleigh Healthcare NHS Trust and Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust.

The case is thought to be the first instance in which a civil partner has been awarded compensation for medical negligence. The couple had their ceremony in March 2008.

Lane first complained of abdominal pain in 2005 but the cancer was not spotted until nine months later. It is thought she would have had a good chance of recovery had the illness been diagnosed sooner.

Austin, a teacher, said: “I have lost a part of me. I can’t help being angry because she should still be here.”

Both NHS trusts formally apologised and admitted there had been shortcomings.

A statement from Winchester and Eastleigh Healthcare NHS Trust said enhanced training had been implemented for temporary and clerical staff.

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