Peter Cosgrove went to see Dr Al-Doori at the Blake House Surgery in Black Torrington, Devon in September 2011 complaining of pain in his right thumb nail.

Mr Cosgrove explained that in July 2011 he had noticed that the nail bed had changed colour and became darker, the nail changed shape and became sore if it was knocked. Mr Cosgrove also explained that during the two months preceding his appointment, the thumb nail had become much darker and most of the nail had splintered and dropped off.

His wife, Alison, a registered staff nurse had insisted he went to see his GP about it.

Dr Al-Doori prescribed a course of treatment for a fungal nail infection and gave Mr Cosgrove a prescription which he said would take time to work. The medication was then reissued on a repeat prescription for a number of months.

Despite this diagnosis and treatment, the nail and the nail bed worsened. Mr Cosgrove returned to the surgery in June 2012, some nine months later, and saw a locum GP, Dr Howlett, who immediately referred him to a specialist.

The results of a biopsy performed on his right thumb confirmed the presence of skin cancer known as an acral lentiginous melanoma (ALM). The thumb was partially amputated on 13th September 2012.

Further examination of Mr Cosgrove showed that the cancer had spread and Mr Cosgrove’s prognosis had worsened.

The Medical Defence Union acting for Dr Al-Doori contested the claim in court; alleging that a photograph taken of Mr Cosgrove’s thumb at the time of the appointment had been doctored and that Dr Al-Doori had conducted a far more extensive examination than Mr Cosgrove claimed.

However, computer records showed that the appointment was not as long as Dr Al-Doori claimed and in his judgment Mr Justice Goss found that he believed Mr Cosgrove and his wife and not the testimony of the doctor.

The judge went on to state that had Mr Cosgrove been diagnosed correctly in October 2011 and the thumb amputated at that time, on the balance of probabilities, he could have expected to live a further 20 years.

Suzanne White and Emma Kendall from Leigh Day’s clinical negligence team represented Mr Cosgrove. They said:

"We are pleased on behalf of our client to have been successful in securing this award for his future care needs and the financial security of his family.

"In his judgment the judge said that he had found where the evidence of the claimant and defendant differed on events, the claimant's account was more likely to be accurate and reliable.

"It is therefore clear that this claim should have been resolved much earlier which would have not only reduced legal costs, but would have also ensured that our client did not suffer the considerable stress of going to trial, and at the same time coping with treatment for his cancer.

"It has just been reported that misdiagnosis claims are steadily on the up; the NHS paying out a record amount in compensation to cancer patients last year. This is a worrying trend which must be addressed through better diagnostic training for GPs and other healthcare professionals alike.”