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Misdiagnosis Or Delayed Diagnosis Of Cancer

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

COVID 19 has caused many people concern about gaining prompt access to medical treatment and in particular cancer treatment.

As with any illness, early diagnosis of any form of cancer is vital to ensure that you have the best opportunity for effective treatment and the best possible outcome.

Where initial signs are reported but an early diagnosis is missed, if it can be shown that the delay in making the diagnosis has affected your treatment or outcome then you may be able to pursue a claim for negligence and claim compensation. You may wish to do this for many reasons – the decision to pursue a claim is an entirely personal choice based on your own circumstances.

The type of claim that we are often asked to consider is where a patient has made a number of visits to their General Practitioner and the General Practitioner has failed to refer for suitable tests or to a consultant. In those circumstances, there may well be a claim against the General Practitioner.

We have also deal with claims against Hospital Trusts where having been referred by the General Practitioner in the appropriate manner the Hospital have failed to carry out appropriate tests (or a scan) which has resulted in the cancer becoming more advanced as a result of the delay.

Many cancers are fast-growing and therefore it is vitally important that a diagnosis is made as soon as possible.

Pursuing these claims can often be very difficult depending on the nature and severity of the claimant’s condition. Claire’s story is a typical example of a cancer claim we dealt with involving delayed diagnosis of breast cancer – you can see it HERE Case study

1) We acted for a lady in connection with a delayed diagnosis of Paget’s disease which is a form of breast cancer.

The claim was investigated against the GP practice and also Northampton General Hospital as it was considered that a number of GP’s who had seen her had delayed in not referring her to the Hospital and then when she was referred to the Hospital the Consultant Breast Surgeon failed to carry out a punch biopsy. If these tests had been carried out then the diagnosis could have been made 5 or 6 months earlier.

Due to the delay in diagnosis the client had to undergo a left mastectomy which we accepted would have been the treatment even if a diagnosis had been made earlier but she would have avoided having to have chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment and also having to take Herceptin and Tamoxifen.

The case progressed and proceedings were issued at court. We relied on evidence from a Consultant Breast and General Surgeon and also an Oncologist. The claim against the General Practice was discontinued as the Hospital admitted liability but initially denied causation. Shortly after exchanged of expert evidence the Defendants made an offer of settlement which our client accepted. The case settled for a five-figure sum

2) Mr D suffered with lung cancer.

When he instructed us he advised that he had had a scan over a year ago before the lung cancer was diagnosed and he wondered why the cancer had not been picked up at that stage. We obtained a report from an expert who confirmed that the cancer was visible on the scan taken 14 months earlier and had not been reported upon appropriately. Sadly because of the delay in diagnosis the cancer was inoperable and Mr D was too poorly to undergo any treatment. He died during the course of pursing this claim and his widow continued with the claim on behalf of his estate. The case settled for a six figure sum.

3) Mrs C brought a claim on behalf of her deceased husband. He had been diagnosed with bowel cancer.

There was no claim in respect of his diagnosis but the family’s concern was that during the course of his treatment following his chemo and radiotherapy he should have had a repeat CT scan. Had that been performed it would have shown that the cancer had spread. He had undergone another surgical procedure without having had this CT scan which he did not recover from and it was felt that he should not have undergone that procedure which caused his deterioration and also it meant that he lost some quality time with his family. We recovered a five-figure settlement.

Medical Negligence (aka Clinical Negligence) is serious – you need a serious lawyer, by which we mean an expert who is dedicated to fighting for the rights of victims. Our specialist team are widely recognised as experts in their field.

An initial consultation costs nothing – call us today.

Louise Tyler


Louise Tyler


Louise is the Head of the Medical Negligence Team working in this area of law for 25 years. She is a member of the Law Society Clinical Negligence Panel, the AvMA (Action for Victims of Medical Accidents) Panel and been appointed to the Executive Committee…