UK Cancer Misdiagnosis

In order to make a compensation claim for cancer misdiagnosis in the UK, it has to be demonstrated that a significant deterioration in your condition occurred due to the negligence of a medical professional, or that you were incorrectly diagnosed with a cancer that you did not have and that “at the time and in the circumstances” could have been avoided with greater care.

There are many different reasons for cancer misdiagnosis in the UK – not just that a radiologist has misinterpreted the results of a scan or x-ray. The misdiagnosis of cancer can be due to a GP error or a mix-up of results at a medical facility. When you make a claim for cancer misdiagnosis compensation, it has to be determined not just that a mistake has been made, but also where it was made.

Consequently, your solicitor will ask you for access to your medical records so that they can be reviewed by an independent expert. When the expert has established at which point the misdiagnosis happened, your solicitor will write to the negligent party with a Letter of Claim, and you compensation claim for the misdiagnosis of cancer will proceed from there.

How much compensation for cancer misdiagnosis you receive will depend on how much your condition has avoidably deteriorated, your prospects of recovery and the psychological impact the misdiagnosis has had on your life. There are few defences against a cancer misdiagnosis compensation claim; but, as the process for making a claim can be complicated, it is in your best interests to speak with a medical negligence solicitor at the first practical opportunity.

Woman to Claim for Medical Negligence Resulting in a Preventable Amputation

A woman is making a claim for medical negligence resulting in a preventable amputation after doctors allegedly misinterpreted the results of a CT scan.

The unnamed woman was admitted to hospital in January last year after fracturing her left femur. As she had a clinical history of underlying malignancy, she underwent a CT scan, X-rays and a blood test to determine whether her injury was due to a disease – such as osteoporosis – that led to a weakness of the bone structure.

The test results were interpreted as showing no signs of a disease. The woman subsequently underwent femoral nailing surgery – a procedure in which a metal rod is inserted into the cavity of the bone to strengthen it – and she was discharged soon after. However, a bone sample taken during the surgery revealed the presence of a cancerous tumour.

The woman was readmitted to hospital the following month to be treated for deep vein thrombosis – a common complication of femoral nailing surgery – and, on her discharge, found that her discharge notification included the results of the bone sample test. She complained that nobody had told her about the presence of a cancerous tumour, and the hospital conducted an investigation.

The diagnosis of cancer was not confirmed until one week later and, due to the treatment options being compromised by the femoral nailing surgery, she had to undergo an above the knee amputation to prevent the disease from spreading. The hospital explained the reason for the cancer not being identified on the CT scan as the scan not including the site in the thigh where the tumour was located.

After seeking legal advice, the woman has instructed solicitors to investigate the level of care she received in order to see if she can justifiably make a claim for medical negligence resulting in a preventable amputation against the Central Manchester University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Her solicitor believes her claim for medical negligence resulting in a preventable amputation believes she may have a strong case. He said:

“The swift, and more importantly, accurate diagnosis of cancer is absolutely crucial as early treatment can often provide the best possible chances of recovery and to prevent long-term health complications. Sadly, in this case, the NHS’ own investigation suggests that the staff who treated the woman at the NHS Trust in question failed to carry out the correct tests, meaning her cancer was not diagnosed as early as it could have been.”

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Woman Settles her Claim for the Misdiagnosis of Skin Cancer

A woman who was told she had a malignant melanoma after being informed the growth was benign has settled her claim for the misdiagnosis of skin cancer.

In February 2013, Joyce Huck (72) from Sutton-in-Craven, North Yorkshire, underwent surgery at Bradford Royal Infirmary to have a growth on her skin removed. Two separate tests reported that the growth was non-cancerous but, when the growth started to develop again, Joyce expressed her concerns to her GP.

The GP referred Joyce for a biopsy and, on Christmas Eve 2014, she was called back into the hospital and told she had a malignant melanoma. Joyce underwent further surgery in early 2015 to have the growth removed again, and samples were taken from her lymph nodes to determine if the cancer had spread to her organs. Fortunately she was given the all clear.

After recovering from the second round of surgery, Joyce sought legal advice and made a claim for the misdiagnosis of skin cancer against the Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – alleging that the stress and anxiety she had suffered between the correct diagnosis being made and receiving the all clear had been very painful for her and her family.

The NHS Trust admitted a breach in its duty of care, and a five-figure settlement of Joyce´s claim for the misdiagnosis of skin cancer was agreed. The NHS Trust also publicly apologised for the stress and anxiety Joyce and her family had suffered, saying it was “deeply sorry”. A spokesman added: “The care we provided fell below our usual high standards and we sincerely apologise to Mrs Huck for this”.

Speaking after her claim for the misdiagnosis of skin cancer had been resolved, Joyce told her local newspaper: “At the time [of being called back to the hospital] I was not told the previous biopsies had been misreported. It was only when I was referred to a plastic surgeon for the growth to be completely removed that I was told the earlier biopsies had also shown cancer. It was shocking to think I’d been living with cancer for so long and it had been left untreated.”

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Compensation for the Failure to Diagnose a Cancerous Mole Settled Out of Court

A woman has recovered a settlement of compensation for the failure to diagnose a cancerous mole after two doctors told her she had nothing to worry about.

The unnamed woman claimed compensation for the failure to diagnose a cancerous mole after attending her local surgery with concerns about a mole on her foot that had changed in appearance and become itchy. The GP she saw initially told her she had nothing to worry about and sent her home.

As the mole continued to concern the woman, she returned to the surgery a few weeks later. A second GP refused to refer her to a specialist and repeated the opinion that she had nothing to worry about before sending her home. Neither doctor measured the size of the mole.

It was only on a third visit to her local surgery that the woman´s concerns were taken seriously. The third GP she saw decided that she could not remove the mole but suggested cutting away the top of it. The woman declined the suggested treatment and was referred instead to her local hospital.

At the hospital, a dermatologist removed part of the mole and sent it for tests. The result of the biopsy was that the mole was cancerous, and the woman underwent an operation to have the entire mole removed. Unfortunately, subsequent tests revealed that the cancer from the mole had metastasised, and the woman is now undergoing treatment for secondary cancer.

The woman sought legal advice about her rights and, on the advice of her solicitor, claimed compensation for the failure to diagnose a cancerous mole against the GP who had first attended her and the surgery. She alleged in her claim that, had she received an appropriate standard of care on her first visit, the cancer would have been identified sooner and her prognosis better.

The GP and the surgery both denied negligence and contested that the woman was entitled to any compensation for the failure to diagnose a cancerous mole. However, after the defendants were threatened with court action, their insurance companies settled the claim for an undisclosed six-figure sum.

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NHS Litigation Authority Settles Claim for the Missed Diagnosis of Cancer

A woman from Swindon has received £50,000 compensation from the NHS Litigation Authority in settlement of her claim for the missed diagnosis of cancer.

In March 2009, the unnamed mother of two attended her GP complaining of a lump on the left side of her neck and a persistent dry cough. The woman was referred to the Ear, Nose and Throat Department of the Royal United Hospital in Bath, where she underwent a CT scan.

The scan suggested that the woman may have cancer of the lymph nodes, but the biopsy sample taken to confirm the result of the CT scan was insufficient for a full assessment to be conducted. A review of the scan concluded that there was no need to conduct another biopsy and instead the hospital carried out an MRI scan on her neck.

Following the MRI scan, the woman was diagnosed with “idiopathic vocal chord palsy” – a weakness of the vocal chords that manifests in a persistent dry cough and a hoarse voice. However, in July 2011, the woman returned to her GP with an increase in size of her left cervical lymph nodes, and pins and needles in her left arm.

The GP sent his patient for an urgent chest X-ray and ultrasound scan of her neck. This time the woman was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer that had spread into her neck and left shoulder and had to undergo six courses of chemotherapy. Fortunately the treatment managed to halt the spread of the cancer and the pins and needles disappeared.

Due to the distress she had experienced, the woman made a complaint to the Royal University Hospital. The hospital denied any failings in the standard of care she had received, so she sought legal advice and made a claim for the missed diagnosis of cancer after an investigation commissioned by her solicitor detected a number of abnormalities on the 2009 scan.

In her claim for the missed diagnosis of cancer it was alleged that, if the cancer had been correctly identified in 2009, the disease could have been treated with hormone therapy and the woman would not have required chemotherapy. It was also alleged that the appropriate treatment in a timely manner would have cured the vocal chord palsy from which she still suffers.

The Royal United Hospital continued to deny its liability for the woman´s experience but, after issuing court proceedings, her solicitor was able to negotiate a £50,000 settlement of the claim for the missed diagnosis of cancer with the NHS Litigation Authority. Speaking after the claim for the missed diagnosis of cancer had been settled, the woman´s solicitor said:

“Despite our client’s experience, the defendant continued to deny that the failure of the radiologist to report the abnormalities in the MRI scan fell below an acceptable standard of care. This is disappointing but sadly, has become par for the course in clinical negligence cases, where the NHS Litigation Authority and its defendant solicitors refuse point blank to accept liability. However, we are delighted that we achieved a very good settlement for our client”.

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Woman Alleges Failure to Investigate the Symptoms of Cervical Cancer

A woman has instructed solicitors to investigate whether she is entitled to compensation for the failure to investigate the symptoms of cervical cancer.

Tayne Eaton (25) from Ipswich first started displaying the symptoms of cervical cancer in the summer of 2013. She visited her GP on several occasions complaining of bleeding and pain but, at the time, Tayne was too young to automatically qualify for the NHS´s screening test.

Tayne´s symptoms worsened following the birth of her son in September 2014, but she was not sent for a smear test until March 2015 – when a tumour of almost 9cm was discovered. Tayne underwent chemotherapy treatment and has had several other operations – including a hysterectomy – to stop the cancer from spreading.

Now Tayne has instructed solicitors to investigate whether she is entitled to compensation for the failure to investigate the symptoms of cervical cancer. She believes that the condition was not considered by her GP because of her age; and, had she been sent for a smear test earlier, she would not have required such invasive treatment and would be able to have more children in the future.

Tayne claims that had there not been a failure to investigate the symptoms of cervical cancer by her GP, the diagnosis would have been made earlier, and her prognosis would have substantially improved. She said: “I knew something was seriously wrong but I just seemed to go from test to test without anyone really knowing what was happening.”

Speaking about the alleged failure to investigate the symptoms of cervical cancer, Tayne´s solicitor added: “Cervical cancer is a treatable disease with a good long term prognosis when it is diagnosed early, but delays can have terrible consequences. Any symptoms should not be dismissed; it is vital that women know what to look out for and take medical advice but, equally, that doctors pay attention to their concerns”.

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Terminally Ill Mum Settles Claim for the Misdiagnosis of Bowel Cancer

A terminally ill mother of three has settled her claim for the misdiagnosis of bowel cancer against the estate of her former consultant surgeon.

Emma Cook (41) from Stanbridge in Bedfordshire, emigrated to Australia with her husband Jonathan in 2010; months after being discharged by her former consultant surgeon – Dr James Tweedie – without the doctor completing the full range of investigations into a mass that had been identified close to Emma´s appendix.

Emma had first attended her GP in November 2009, complaining of intermittent abdominal pain. Her GP diagnosed her with a urinary tract infection and prescribed antibiotics. However, her symptoms developed into fever, vomiting and diarrhoea, and she was referred to the A&E Department at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

At Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Emma was examined by consultant surgeon Dr James Tweedie, who suspected that her symptoms could either be caused by a urinary tract infection, an ovarian cyst or appendicitis. He arranged for an ultrasound that identified a mass around the appendix, and Emma was put on intravenous antibiotic treatment ahead of a planned appendectomy.

However, the antibiotic treatment eased Emma´s symptoms and she was discharged from hospital on 1st December 2009 without the appendectomy being conducted. Emma was reviewed by Dr Tweedie on 8th December and 5th January 2010 before being discharged from his care, but with no follow-up treatment advised.

After Emma and her young family moved to Australia, Emma started experiencing the intermittent abdominal pain again. She visited her GP, who conducted more thorough tests than Dr Tweedie, and was diagnosed with the advanced stages of bowel cancer in February 2011. Emma sought legal advice and made a claim for the misdiagnosis of bowel cancer against Dr Tweedie.

In the claim for the misdiagnosis of bowel cancer it was alleged that, as it is impossible to differentiate between an infection of the lower abdomen and bowel cancer, Dr Tweedie should have conducted a colonoscopy to eliminate the possibility of the latter. Had a colonoscopy revealed that Emma was suffering from bowel cancer, she could have received treatment that would have prevented the cancer spreading to the rest of her body.

Before the legal action could commence, Dr Tweedie himself succumbed to cancer and died in July 2011. The claim for the misdiagnosis of bowel cancer was then made against the former consultant surgeon´s estate and recently settled for £125,000; after which Emma said: “We wouldn’t have moved our young family to the other side of the world, thousands of miles away from our parents and friends, had Dr Tweedie correctly diagnosed me”.

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Couple Seek Legal Advice over Missed Diagnosis of Cancer of the Womb

A couple from Sunderland have been in contact with a solicitor following an alleged missed diagnosis of cancer of the womb that will prove to be terminal.

Jeanette Scully (47) from Castletown in Tyne and Wear attended the A&E Department of the Sunderland Royal Hospital earlier this year with terrible pains in her lower stomach. A scan revealed that she had a mass in her abdomen, which doctors diagnosed as an infected fibroid. Jeanette was given antibiotics and discharged.

When the pain continued, Jeanette attended her GP. Allegedly the GP told her that the power of positive thought would help her cope with the pain; but, on Good Friday this year, Jeanette was screaming with pain and her partner of twenty-two years took her back to Sunderland A&E – where she was eventually admitted for pain management treatment after being initially discharged.

Consultants at the Sunderland Royal Hospital said they could not find any reason for her pain, but a scan conducted in May after a further visit to the A&E Department revealed that Jeanette had a soft tissue sarcoma in her womb. The following month, Jeanette and David were given the devastating news that Jeanette had cancer of the womb that was so far advanced it was unlikely to respond to chemotherapy.

On receipt of the news, the couple sought legal advice about the possible missed diagnosis of cancer of the womb. Their solicitor has initiated an investigation into the standard of care Jeanette received at the Sunderland Royal Hospital and from her GP – Dr Weatherhead and Associates of Southwick, Tyne and Wear.

Speaking to her local press, Jeanette said: “I just want to know that what happened to me will be properly investigated and something will be done about it as I would never want anyone else to go through what we have. I really believe that if I had been properly investigated when I first reported symptoms things would have been very different.”

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Woman Settles Claim for the Misdiagnosis of Breast Cancer while Another One Begins

A woman, who underwent an unnecessary double mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery, has settled her claim for the misdiagnosis of breast cancer.

The unnamed woman was incorrectly diagnosed with breast cancer after her treating consultant reviewed the mammogram scans from another patient by mistake. The treating consultant told the woman that her non-invasive breast cancer was serious and that she needed urgent surgery.

The consequences of being diagnosed with breast cancer understandably caused terrible personal problems for the woman. The relationship with her husband suffered to the point where their marriage broke up and her previously successful business collapsed.

A mix-up in the order that patients were called into the treating room was later identified as being responsible for the error, but it was only after the woman had undergone an unnecessary double mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery that she was informed of the mistake.

After seeking legal advice, the woman made a claim for the misdiagnosis if breast cancer against the Norfolk and Norwich NHS Foundation Trust. The Trust´s investigation confirmed where the mistake had occurred and a settlement of £150,000 was negotiated.

The woman´s claim for the misdiagnosis of breast cancer due to the mix-up of patient notes is the second such event to have happened in as many months. In April, Elizabeth Dawes (39) from Stafford also discovered she had undergone unnecessary surgery for breast cancer that had been misdiagnosed due to a mix-up of patient notes.

Elizabeth unnecessarily underwent a lumpectomy and bilateral breast lift at the New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton after being incorrectly diagnosed with a grade 3 invasive tumour in her breast, and was so traumatised by the event that she has had to give up her job.

In Elizabeth´s case, the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust has already apologised “unreservedly” for the mistake and has conducted an investigation to ensure that no other patients were affected by the error. The settlement of Elizabeth´s claim for the misdiagnosis of breast cancer is still under discussion.

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NHS Found Negligent in Claim for the Misdiagnosis of Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

An Australian woman has been successful in her claim for the misdiagnosis of metastatic colorectal cancer and awarded £91,300 at the High Court.

Sue O´Reilly from Sydney in Australia brought her claim for the misdiagnosis of metastatic colorectal cancer following the premature death of her fifty-five year old husband – Dr David O´Reilly – in November 2006. Claiming that David would have lived longer if doctors attached to the Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust had correctly diagnosed his condition sooner, Sue claimed compensation for the premature loss of her husband and her emotional trauma.

Prior to David´s death, the couple had been living in Chichester, Sussex, and in 2003 David had undergone an endoscopy to detect the cause of symptoms he was experiencing. The consultant surgeon who conducted the endoscopy overlooked a lesion in David´s colon and, the following year, the family´s GP misdiagnosed David with irritable bowel syndrome.

After David´s death, Sue returned to Sydney with her severely disabled son Shane so that she could get support with his care from other members of the family. She attempted to have the claim for the misdiagnosis of metastatic colorectal cancer heard in Australia, but the NHS Trust against whom the claim was made disputed the viability of her actions.

In 2010, the New South Wales Supreme Court agreed to hear the claim in Sydney because of Sue´s commitment to her son but, as the case progressed, Shane died unexpectedly from complications relating to cerebral palsy. The Australian judge hearing the case – Mr Justice Peter Garling – agreed that, as Sue now had no commitments to prevent her from travelling to the UK, it would be more cost-effective to hear evidence from witnesses in London.

Because of the legal similarities between Australia and the UK, Mr Justice Peter Garling was appointed as a temporary examiner by the Royal Court of Justice so that he could continue to hear the claim for the misdiagnosis of metastatic colorectal cancer and ultimately he found the NHS Trust in breach of its duty of care – awarding Sue £91,300 compensation for the premature loss of her husband – but nothing for her emotional trauma, on the grounds that David would have died within five years (instead of three years) had the condition been diagnosed correctly.

More importantly for Sue, Judge Garling dismissed the NHS Trust´s application to pay only 25% of Sue´s legal costs – which had run into almost a million pounds over the nine years she had been fighting the claim for metastatic colorectal cancer. The NHS Trust argued that the legal costs were disproportionately high in comparison to the award of compensation, but Judge Garling disagreed and attributed the full amount of the costs to the NHS.

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Husband Makes Claim for the Misdiagnosis of Cervical Cancer

The husband of a woman who died after giving birth to the couple´s second child has made a claim for the misdiagnosis of cervical cancer

Louisa Foster from Granborough in Buckinghamshire had a routine smear test at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital in 2008 and was told that the results were normal. In 2010, she underwent IVF treatment to help with the conception of her second child.

Shortly after her son was born on 1st December 2010, Louisa started to experience abdominal pain and discomfort, but – on returning to Stoke Mandeville on several occasions – was told that her symptoms were attributable to the Caesarean Section she had or due to an infection.

Depending on which junior doctor she saw, Louise was prescribed antibiotics or told to go home and take a paracetamol; and it was not until April 2011 that she finally saw a specialist who diagnosed her with an advanced cervical tumour.

Louisa underwent two years of treatment for the cancer at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford – including intensive chemoradiotherapy and a hysterectomy – but she never recovered from the misdiagnosis of cervical cancer and died in June 2013 aged 35.

After seeking legal advice, Louisa´s widow – Graeme – made a claim for the misdiagnosis of cervical cancer. In his claim, Graeme alleged that doctors ignored the fact that his wife was losing weight rapidly or said that it was due to her breast feeding her son.

Graeme said that the couple had persevered to get a correct diagnosis because their first child had been born by Caesarean Section, and Louisa knew that the symptoms she was experiencing were not right. He hopes that by making a claim for the misdiagnosis of cervical cancer against the Buckingham Healthcare NHS Trust, the mistakes that were made in Louisa´s treatment will not be repeated.

Graeme told his local paper: “It has been a long, long haul and taken a lot out of us all, but now on behalf of our children and other women who may be going through the same situation I’m hoping to get to the bottom of what happened.”

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