If you have suffered a misdiagnosis of cancer, then you may be feeling very worried about what this could mean for the progression of the disease and what situation you could be in if your diagnosis had been made earlier. If you have been mistakenly diagnosed with cancer and you do not have the disease, then you may be feeling not only very relieved but also very traumatised that you thought you were suffering from cancer. Either way, if negligence led to you being misdiagnosed with cancer, then you might wish to find out more information on making a misdiagnosed cancer or late-diagnosed cancer claim. This page should offer some useful information about this.
In the sections below, we will cover all you may need to know about starting a medical negligence claim. We’ll also show you how to find a No Win No Fee medical negligence solicitor to help you make such a claim. If anything isn’t entirely clear or you would like further advice, then call 0800 652 3087 to speak to a member of the Medical Negligence Assist team, or read on to see if your query is covered below.
Select A Section
- About The Misdiagnosis Of Cancer
- What Duty Of Care Do My Doctors Owe Me?
- Why Does Misdiagnosis Of Cancer Happen?
- What Are The Different Types Of Medical Negligence?
- Cancer Types Which Could Be Misdiagnosed
- What Injuries Could Be Caused By The Late Or Misdiagnosis Of Cancer?
- How Severe Could The Effects Of A Late Or Misdiagnosis Be?
- What Long Term Effects Could Be Caused By Cancer Being Misdiagnosed?
- When Could You Claim For The Misdiagnosis Of Cancer?
- Could I Claim Compensation For The Misdiagnosis Of Cancer By The NHS?
- How Long Do I Have In Which To Claim?
- Could I Claim For A Loved One?
- Misdiagnosed Cancer Statistics
- What Could I Claim For After The Misdiagnosis Of Cancer?
- No Win No Fee Misdiagnosis Of Cancer Claims
- Medical References
Any medical professional is bound by a duty of care to their patients. This means that they should always provide a good standard of care to their patients and must do all that they can to protect their health and well-being. If they are negligent in diagnosing or treating you, then this may be seen as them failing in this duty of care, and this could mean the action/inaction taken could be seen as medical negligence. If you have experienced medical negligence and it has caused harm to your health, then you could claim medical negligence compensation with assistance from a medical negligence lawyer.
Within this guide, you should find information on the different ways you could go about claiming for a cancer misdiagnosis settlement, whether you have experienced misdiagnosed colorectal cancer, a bowel cancer misdiagnosis, misdiagnosed bone cancer, or another type of cancer entirely. We will also go ahead and provide all the information you may need about finding a medical negligence solicitor to work on your misdiagnosed cancer or late diagnosed cancer claim.
Can cancer be misdiagnosed?
A misdiagnosis is an instance where a doctor provides a diagnosis which is either delayed or incorrect. This could be for an injury, a condition or an illness. Incorrect diagnosis could lead to the incorrect treatment being prescribed, or even no treatment being offered. This could lead to a patient’s condition worsening, and with a disease like cancer, which could progress quickly, the results could be devastating.
However, you should take note of the fact that a misdiagnosis is not enough to lead to a claim. Some errors in diagnosis may not be attributable to a doctor. To have enough evidence to claim for a misdiagnosis of cancer, you would need to establish proof of three things:
- You had a patient-doctor relationship which creates a duty of care.
- The doctor breached their duty in misdiagnosing you. This means that they would have failed to treat you competently, skillfully, or reasonably. For example, if they had not listened to symptoms you had, not examined you properly or ordered the correct tests etc, this could prove negligence.
- As a result of the breach, your condition worsened or you suffered an injury.
In order to assess this, an evaluation must be made of the process the doctor took when coming to a conclusion as to your diagnosis. Your medical negligence solicitor would need to help you prove that the doctor in question did not comply with the list for differential diagnosis. Or, if they did, then they did not arrange tests that would have been appropriate, or they did not refer something to a specialist if they should have done. However, there are some instances where a doctor would not be seen as negligent. A doctor could misdiagnose a condition because of inaccurate test reports that could come from radiography departments or pathological laboratories. In these cases, the lab or clinic might be deemed to have been negligent.
Every medical professional is legally required to provide the best treatment possible for each and every patient that they care for. Once a doctor has established a doctor-patient relationship, they are in a position of trust, and could, therefore, be liable for injuries resulting from negligence in their treatment of the patient.
Legally speaking, the duty of care begins once the patient-doctor relationship is established. The doctor in question is then duty-bound to provide skilful and diligent treatment.
Vicarious liability could also exist with misdiagnosis of cancer claims. This is, as touched on earlier, where the treating physician might not be the party that was at fault. The hospital that the patient was treated at could in some cases be held liable for the negligence of the staff it employs. In some cases, the attending doctor could be held liable for the negligence of any assistants and staff working on their orders, which includes interns and medical students.
Obviously this is a complex area of the law, and you could benefit from someone with experience in this type of medical negligence to help you ascertain and prove liability.
It is not a patient’s responsibility to know whether or not symptoms that you are suffering from could be caused by cancer. If a suspicion of cancer exists, whether this comes about because of cancer screening or another lab test, or because symptoms you have mentioned to your doctor have warranted investigation, then it is your doctor’s responsibility to know whether cancer could be indicated.
Some ways in which cancer could be missed or misdiagnosed could include a failure in:
- Performing a thorough physical exam
- Taking a detailed and accurate history
- Following up or communicating with the patient adequately
- Recognising warning signs and early symptoms
- Offering or recommending screening
- Recommending tests because of financial constraints
- Properly performing or interpreting lab or radiology tests
- Referring patients to relevant specialists
- Communications between medical clinics and doctors
There are just a few errors that could lead to a misdiagnosis of cancer. If your circumstances are not listed above, why not contact us on the number at the top of the page to check if you’re eligible to claim?
The different acts of medical negligence that could lead to NHS cancer misdiagnosis payouts could include:
- Medication error – The patient could have been prescribed the wrong dosage, amount or type of medication.
- Misdiagnosis – If a patient is misdiagnosed, it may be awhile before this is spotted and they may have to go through further tests which could leave them without proper diagnosis and treatment for some time.
- Delayed care – A delay in treatment could lead to a worsening of the patient’s condition and a poorer prognosis in some cases of cancer misdiagnosis.
Whatever type of medical negligence you’ve suffered, you could speak to a medical negligence lawyer to see if you could claim for misdiagnosed cancer.
When it comes to the types of medical negligence that could be claimed for, these could include:
- Vicarious liability – we touched on this before. The claim would be against the hospital employing the medical staff member that could have been at fault for the cancer misdiagnosis.
- Contributory negligence – The victim may have been partially responsible for the negligence and the blame is then shared between the victim and medical staff. Compensation could still follow but could be reduced because of the victim’s responsibility.
- Gross negligence – This is where there was a failure in the duty of care to such a degree that it could be deemed that no regard was shown for the patient’s health or safety. In extreme cases, the medic could lose their licence to practice.
To work out which type of negligence you’ve suffered, you may wish to speak to a medical negligence solicitor from our panel. Simply call us on the number at the top of the page.
The average payout for cancer misdiagnosis could hinge on the type of cancer, the prognosis of the claimant and more. Here, we look at the different types of cancer that could be misdiagnosed.
While almost any cancer could be misdiagnosed, there are some that could be considered commonly misdiagnosed, and these could include:
- Misdiagnosed breast cancer – other conditions could present similarly to breast cancer and it could be that the doctor might assume another condition is causing symptoms. However, if risk factors exist, and they do not take heed of these, then this could lead to a cancer misdiagnosis.
- Misdiagnosed pancreatic cancer – This could be mistaken for IBS, pancreatitis or gallstones.
- Misdiagnosed colon cancer – This could be mistaken for IBS or colitis, as could misdiagnosed bowel cancer.
- Misdiagnosed lung cancer – Shortness of breath and cough could be symptoms, but these could be assumed to be issues with asthma or other respiratory conditions.
Of course, there could be other misdiagnosed cancers, such as misdiagnosed cervical cancer, misdiagnosed brain cancer, misdiagnosed bile duct cancer and more, but those above could be considered the most common.
While the medical community is consistently striving to offer better diagnosis and treatment of cancer, one of the most important things is early detection of the disease. Over the course of time, cancer cells could grow and multiply, and they could then spread to other parts of the body, leading to secondary cancers, whether as misdiagnosed bone cancer, misdiagnosed bladder cancer, or another type of cancer entirely.
Often when a late diagnosis leads to delayed treatment, the treatment given could be more aggressive in an attempt to stop or slow the progression. This could also come with risks to the patient. The types of injuries that could be caused by misdiagnosed cancer malpractice, leading to a misdiagnosed cancer lawsuit, could include:
- Cancer that is deemed to be inoperable
- A premature fatality
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Pain (physical and mental)
- More aggressive treatment with more painful side effects
- A longer time for recovery
- A loss of organs or limbs
- Permanent or long term disability
When assessing how severe a misdiagnosis of cancer could be, you could look at the following:
The misdiagnosis (MSS) score could be utilised, which works out the level of misdiagnosis from 7 to 1. The procedure for assessment should take into account what treatment would have been offered should the correct diagnosis been made initially. As well as this, the severity of the injury and potential for mortality, morbidity, suffering and pain should also be taken into account.
If you were to receive inaccurate diagnosis and treatment, then this could be the same as receiving ineffective treatment. Not only could the wrong treatment be harmful to you, but the condition that you have may not be treated while you are still misdiagnosed.
If you have been misdiagnosed with cancer and do not have the disease, you could undergo chemotherapy which is known to have long-term, if not permanent effects on the body in some cases. In addition to this, the mental trauma of being misdiagnosed and mistreated could lead to a long-term mental health condition and could lead to you putting off seeking further treatment in future because you developed a mistrust of the medical profession. You may also suffer from the disease progressing far further than it could have done if treated quickly, which could have an effect on your mortality. In financial terms, time off work for treatment that was not needed could lead you to lose out on income, so there are other effects than just the mental and physical consequences of misdiagnosed cancer.
If you have a cancer misdiagnosis, you may be wondering when you could claim. It might be of interest to know that in most courts in the UK, you can file a misdiagnosed cancer lawsuit against the NHS and private practices. So long as you could prove your doctor was negligent and that the negligence had a negative effect on your health, you could retain the services of a lawyer to fight your case for you. Whether your doctor did not refer you, or didn’t offer or perform a biopsy, or did not thoroughly investigate your symptoms or advise further tests, if they have been negligent and you have suffered, you could make a claim.
While no financial compensation can truly make up for the suffering and pain that could be caused by cancer misdiagnosis, compensation could help ease any financial burdens caused by the negligence. If you have been harmed in some way because of NHS negligence, you could, with the help of a medical negligence solicitor claim for NHS cancer misdiagnosis payouts.
Whether you have misdiagnosed bladder cancer, misdiagnosed bone cancer or any other misdiagnosis of cancer, if you’re looking to take action you might need to know the relevant medical negligence claims time limit for your claim. Here, we have put together a table to help see what the time limit could be for your cancer misdiagnosis. Do call us if you wish to talk to us further about this.
Situation Time Limit
Claiming when negligence is discovered – most standard claims 3 years from negligence discovery date
Claiming for a child when negligence is discovered Where an adult claims, 3 years from discovery date
Claiming for negligence as a child 3 years from 18th birthday
Claiming for a fatality of a loved one Possibly 3 years from their passing, or 3 years from discovery. Call us for clarification
There are exceptions to these cases also that relate to people who have lacked the mental and/or physical capacity to claim at the time but have since recovered. We’d be happy to talk to you about this on the phone.
If you have lost a loved one to cancer, you may have not only lost out on the time you get to spend with them, but also on their contribution to family finances, and this could leave you financially vulnerable. While nothing could bring back a loved one, compensation could help to ease the financial burden of their passing.
If you are a child or a spouse of someone who has passed away, and you believe their prognosis would have been different if cancer had not been misdiagnosed, then you could look at claiming cancer misdiagnosis compensation. You could also claim for a child under 18 and also if you financially depended on the person who passed away.
If you’re wondering what percentage of cancer patients are misdiagnosed, or how often do people get misdiagnosed, you may be interested in knowing more about misdiagnosed cancer statistics. In the UK, according to the Office of National Statistics, 296,863 new cancer cases were reported in 2014. Over half of these were sited at the bowel, breast, lung or prostate. Research showed that 11% of patients were not satisfied with the final outcome of treatment, the procedure of treatment or diagnosis, and 15% of cancer patients were not provided with a clinical nurse specialist to assist with their needs.
When making a compensation claim, you could claim for more than just the injuries or illnesses you’ve suffered due to the cancer misdiagnosis. You could also claim for financial losses as long as they occurred as the direct result of the negligent cancer diagnosis. These could be care costs if you’d needed assistance at home with daily tasks such as bathing or getting dressed, travel costs to medical appointments, or even losses to your income. To find out more about what you can claim, contact us today.
If you’re considering making a claim for compensation and you’re not sure whether you have the funds to retain the services of a lawyer, you may be interested to learn about No Win No Fee claims.
You would not need to pay your lawyer to begin the claim. Instead, you would sign a conditional agreement which agrees to pay them a small percentage of your compensation. There is the government cap on how much of a fee your injury lawyer could take from the settlement for legal fees. This way, you aren’t risking losing all of your compensation. If your claim does not succeed, you will not have to pay any of your lawyer’s fees in pursuing your case.
Whether you’re ready to make a No Win No Fee claim, or you’d like to speak to us so we could help connect you with a solicitor who could help you make a cancer misdiagnosis claim, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. You could reach us on 0800 652 3087. We will aim to help you quickly and efficiently, whatever it is you need to know.
NHS Information on Cancer – This link takes you to the page on cancer on the NHS’s website. You could find some useful information here.
Common misdiagnoses – Cancers that could be commonly misdiagnosed are explained here.
Cancer Research UK – The cancer charity aims to help fund research into cancer.
Misdiagnosis – General information – Here you could see our guide covering misdiagnosis. We hope you find it useful
Calculating medical negligence – Here you can see information on calculating the compensation settlement.
NHS Negligence – If you’ve suffered negligence on the NHS, this page might help.
Written by Jo
Edited by Ed