Page last updated at 18:40 GMT, Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Radiation overdose legal action

One of the world's top cancer specialists has investigated Lisa Norris' case

The family of Ayrshire teenager Lisa Norris are to proceed with legal action against a health board which gave her a massive overdose of radiation in 2006.

Lisa, 16, died months after staff at Glasgow's Beatson Oncology Centre miscalculated her treatment for a brain tumour and gave her 19 overdoses.

A new report from a top cancer expert said the chances of survival were in Lisa's favour until the error.

But the Beatson said Lisa had a rare and "particularly aggressive" tumour.

Lisa was initially diagnosed with a brain tumour in October 2005, and was given radiation 58% higher than prescribed in January 2006, which left her with burns on her head and neck.

The fact that Lisa's cancer returned despite receiving such high doses of radiation demonstrates the rare and particularly aggressive nature of her tumour
Fiona Cowie
Beatson Oncology Centre
She died in October 2006 at her home in Girvan.

A report commissioned by Scottish ministers had identified a "critical error" in her treatment plan by inexperienced staff.

It said the overdose happened after an under-qualified and under-trained member of staff entered a wrong number on a form.

But post-mortem examination results concluded she died of a type of brain cancer.

However, the new report, commissioned by the teenager's solicitor following a BBC Scotland Investigation, suggested the chances of survival were in Lisa's favour until the mistake.

It was written by one of the world's top cancer specialists, Professor Karol Sikora.

Ken Norris, Lisa's father, told BBC Scotland: "That report states that if Lisa had had her treatment, she probably would have been alive today.

Lisa Norris
A report said the chances of survival were in Lisa's favour until the mistake
"We've really been let down - the treatment at the Beatson went totally wrong and those people responsible for that should be brought to book.

"That's why we want a Fatal Accident Inquiry, so that the people responsible for this can be prosecuted.

"We are also prepared to take legal action against the health board and our solicitor has been told to do that."

In a statement, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: "As there is an existing legal claim from Cameron Fyfe, of Ross Harper Solicitors, on behalf of the Norris family regarding this case, we are surprised that the personal view of this one academic is being played out in the media at this time."

Fiona Cowie, consultant clinical oncologist at the Beatson, said: "From an anti-cancer treatment point of view, the fact that Lisa received such a high dose of radiation should have meant a greater chance of her cancer cells being destroyed rather than less as Professor Sikora has suggested.

"The fact that Lisa's cancer returned despite receiving such high doses of radiation demonstrates the rare and particularly aggressive nature of her tumour.

"The clinical concern for Lisa was the effect the radiation overdose would have had on her later and not on the tumour."

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SEE ALSO
Family's cancer report concerns
02 Nov 06 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Radiation report identifies error
27 Oct 06 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Grieving father issues thank-you
20 Oct 06 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Radiation overdose teenager dies
19 Oct 06 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Your views on the death of Lisa Norris
19 Oct 06 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Radiation girl back in hospital
25 Sep 06 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Beatson centre gave 39 overdoses
12 May 06 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West

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