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Home > Personal Injury > Medical Negligence > Compensation for misdiagnosis

Compensation for misdiagnosis

Many claims for medical negligence compensation start not from some adverse event, like surgical error, but with a non-event - a doctor missing the signs of injury or disease.

A patient complains to the GP that she has a breast lump, or a persistent cough, or a change in bowel habit. The patient is reassured, offered some medication for the symptoms, and sent away. The patient comes back with the same symptoms and told not to worry. Months later the patient sees a locum, or goes to hospital with some other problem, and turns out that he or she has had, for example :

Treatment is hastily started, there is an urgent surgical referral.

In cases like these there is often little real dispute that a doctor has missed some obvious sign, failed to make an urgent referral, or written the patient off as anxious and a nuisance.

The real issue for the injury compensation claim is what would have happened if the patient had been referred for treatment straight away. A sample of the tumour may be analysed to see how fast it is growing, and so what size it would have been at an earlier date. Or an analysis is made of the stage it has reached, with an assessment of the outcomes of treatment had action been taken sooner.

In English law the crucial test is whether earlier treatment had a better than 50% chance of succeeding. This rule often leads to harsh results, as doctors would start treatment for cancer with a far lower percentage success rate than this. So the patient may prove that his GP should have referred him months earlier, and that the hospital would have operated, but even then with only a 30% chance of success. The courts would not award compensation as it would be held there was no evidence that on balance of probability the operation would have led to a better outcome. But these are the unlucky few.

Sadly, every year many patients do miss out on necessary treatment and, with the help of specialist medical negligence solicitors they and their families recover medical negligence compensation.

It isn't always the GP at fault. In one successful compensation claim the GP told the patient, who had coughed up some blood, that he feared he had lung cancer and was referring him urgently to hospital. The hospital carried out a few tests, and after many months discharged him without any diagnosis. The family complained about the GP: his bad news was unnecessary and ruined Christmas. But two years later his symptoms became unmistakable. He was sent back to hospital, where they confirmed he did have lung cancer, but it was too late, and though much was done to make him comfortable, he died.

His widow sought claim advice, expert witnesses confirmed that the right tests would have confirmed the GP's initial fears, and that surgery then would probably have saved his life, and she eventually received substantial compensation for her husband's early death.

Please visit our section on information and advice for more details on making a personal injury compensation claim.

For further information please go to one of our pages below:

Misdiagnosis news stories

Clear Answers' lawyers deal with very many successful cases of all types of medical negligence and personal injury claims, including those involving misdiagnosis.

Please visit our regularly updated Personal Injury News Section to view some examples of our successful medical negligence and personal injury accident compensation claims.

Below is just a few examples of recent news stories which we hope you will find of interest. Please read the full story by clicking on the link.

Medical negligence compensation after death of a patient

Our client in this claim for medical negligence compensation was a widow who had lost her husband whilst they were only in their 50’s. Both had been fit and active, and enjoyed an active and social lifestyle. His death occurred just days after he had been taken to hospital where they had failed to diagnose deep vein thrombosis.

Our specialist medical negligence lawyers were able to negotiate a six-figure sum in medical negligence compensation for our client, which whilst in no-way compensating for the loss of her husband, should ensure that she is financially secure following his premature and untimely death.
More about Medical negligence compensation after death of a patient

Other news stories which we hope will be of interest

Early diagnosis of cancers must improve

Compensation claim for misdiagnosis

Have you or a member of your family suffered as a result of medical negligence? For more information about our service or for advice about whether we can assist you with a medical negligence compensation claim contact us today on 0800 783 9019 or complete one of our online compensation claim forms. One of our representatives will contact you (without obligation) to discuss the matter further within 24 hours (48 hours at weekends).

Strict time limits apply for making a personal injury compensation claim, so please seek expert legal advice as soon as you think you may have a valid claim for compensation.

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