As reported by the Liverpool Echo, in June 2018 Alexandra Hodson received a diagnosis of cervical cancer following her first smear test.
Prior to this, Ms Hodson had presented to her GP surgery with classic symptoms of the cervical cancer including bleeding between periods and pain during, and after, sexual intercourse. A nurse apparently advised Ms Hodson that her symptoms were normal and likely as a result of her contraceptive injection.
Following Ms Hodson’s first smear test, a tumour was found in her cervix and she commenced radiotherapy and chemotherapy. In April 2020, her family received the devastating news that treatment had been ineffective and Ms Hodson’s cancer was terminal.
Ms Hodson tragically passed away on 8th August 2020.
If you believe that you, or a loved one, have suffered a delay in the diagnosis of cancer because of suspected clinical negligence, one of our specialist clinical negligence solicitors would be happy to speak with you and advise you as to your options, including a formal complaint and a legal claim. There is no initial charge for discussing this with us and we will talk you through your options, including how to fund a case and the possibility of a no win no fee arrangement (conditional fee agreement or CFA)”
The journal Lancet Oncology last week predicted that delays in cancer treatment since March could lead to 3,500 avoidable cancer deaths in England in the next five years.
This could be the result of tests and treatments for cancer patients being postponed or the result of patients being too frightened to seek the treatment that they needed. Julie Grayston expressed her concern in an article in the Law Society Gazette this week. She said ‘there is likely to be a surge of cases, although currently people are reluctant to pursue the NHS. The problem will be whether the decision was correct at the time that treatment should stop or that people shouldn’t go to hospital. I think the fundamental issue is that the decision was made without any individual discussion to weigh up the risks of delaying treatment.’
Paul Rumley, chair of The Society of Clinical Injury lawyers agreed that there may be a problem yet to surface. He added ‘The balancing factor is whether the courts are prepared to allow such claims or whether defendants successfully argue it is a resources issue – that so much was being thrown at a pandemic that other services had to suffer, but that was reasonable and therefore excusable.’
One of our clients at Graystons has been awarded a six figure settlement following a negligent delay in the diagnosis of lung cancer. JW from Derby was finally diagnosed with lung cancer in 2017 despite having troubling symptoms for a number of years previously. Following investigation by the legal experts at Graystons, it was established that there were missed opportunities in 2013 and 2016 to diagnose and treat the cancer. As a consequence of the delay in diagnosis, the cancer had progressed and JW ‘s condition required more invasive surgery and chemotherapy treatment. His quality of life and anticipated life expectancy as a result of the delay were significantly reduced.
University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust admitted liability and provided a comprehensive apology to JW. Following this,the Trust and the legal experts at Graystons were able to agree a six figure settlement compensating JW for his injuries, his lost earnings and allowing him to access care and support for himself and his family in the future.
Serious delays in diagnosis of cancer, such as in JW’s case are, thankfully rare. It is however essential that these case are investigated thoroughly. A specialist clinical negligence lawyer is required so that victims are compensated appropriately and receive answers about the care received. Alerting hospital trusts to these cases also provides the opportunity for invaluable learning and addressing shortcomings within the system.
If you or a loved one is concerned that there has been a delay in diagnosis, you can contact one of the specialist clinical negligence lawyers at Graystons for advice and support. There is no charge to discuss the case initially and we will speak to you about your options with funding a claim, such as accessing legal cover via an existing insurance policy, or no win no fee.
A recent report by the Detect Cancer Early programme (DCE) has shown that those who live in deprived areas are less likely to receive early cancer diagnoses than those living in more affluent areas.
It is important that cancer is identified as early as possible so as to give patients the best chances of recovery. The failure to detect cancer when it is in its early stages can have devastating effects on patients and their families; as it can mean that cancer may be less treatable. In the case of more aggressive forms of cancer, it may even mean that the cancer is, sadly, not treatable at all.
If you have concerns regarding a delayed diagnosis of cancer, one of our specialist clinical negligence solicitors would be happy to speak with you and advise you on your options, including a formal complaint and a legal claim. There is no initial charge for discussing this with us and we will talk you through your options, including how to fund a case and the possibility of a no win no fee arrangement (conditional fee agreement or CFA).