Cancer patient sues doctor for alleged negligence

A COUPLE of times Dean Booth has started making video messages for his two daughters' birthdays, in case he isn't around to see them grow up, but it's too hard.

"I can't do it. Each time I start I choke up and start bawling," the Redlynch father said.

At 39 he is facing a terminal battle with melanoma, with the cancer also having spread to other parts of his body including his liver.

He has now launched a $1.7 million claim against a former Cairns doctor who he claims was negligent and failed to act and order a biopsy or refer him to a specialist when he visited him for a skin check less than two years ago.

Dean Booth, his partner Monica Vella and their children Frankie 9 months and Charlotte 4. PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS
Dean Booth, his partner Monica Vella and their children Frankie 9 months and Charlotte 4. PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS

In the claim, filed with the Cairns Supreme Court on Thursday, it is alleged Mr Booth visited Dr Suresh Kesavan at the Cairns GP Medical Centre in Cairns North in July 2017 and specifically asked about a lesion behind his left ear which had become raised, but was told it was "okay".

It was only when he saw a second doctor in November that year that he was sent for further tests and it was found to be an aggressive malignant melanoma.

"I'm just angry that I've been put in this position and it's not something that can be taken away," Mr Booth said.

"I'm on death row basically.

"My whole outlook on life has now changed.

"This is something that doesn't disappear, it's on my mind 24/7.

"Even if I beat this I'll always be thinking if it's going to come back, but the odds I've been given are very, very slim."

He and partner Monica Vella found out early this year that the drugs had stopped working.

He has now been told to try a second round.

At 39 Dean Booth is facing a terminal battle with melanoma. Pictured here with his partner Monica Vella and children Charlotte 4 and Frankie 9 months. PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS
At 39 Dean Booth is facing a terminal battle with melanoma. Pictured here with his partner Monica Vella and children Charlotte 4 and Frankie 9 months. PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS

He said if that did not work, the family would likely move to Sydney in the hopes of being included in a clinical trial.

He was given a prognosis of three years when he began the drug courses last year, but has not wanted to know since finding out they had stopped working.

It has been too hard to tell their oldest daughter Charlotte, four, and nine-month-old Frankie is far too young to understand.

"She knows I go to hospital for treatment, but that's not a conversation I'm ready to have with her," he said.

Unable to work for the past nine months, he said the money would go to supporting his family.

"I don't want my kids to grow up not being able to do anything because we can't afford it," he said.

Mr Booth said he hoped his story would be a lesson to everyone to get a skin check and seek a second opinion if unsure, but also send a message to the medical fraternity about the consequences of inaction.

His lawyer, Vicki Holmes from Maurice Blackburn, said they were arguing if the cancer had been identified on the first appointment it would not have resulted in a terminal prognosis.

"It's just so tragic and could have been avoided with the appropriate treatment and now he's paying with his life and won't get to see his kids grow up," she said.

Dr Kesavan's lawyers were contacted for comment, but did not respond before deadline.

A court date is yet to be set.



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