Pancreatic cancer misdiagnosis claims solicitors.
Pancreatic Cancer is one of the most aggressive and deadly forms of cancer, which means that misdiagnosis of the cancer can mean the difference between living for several more years, or just a few months.
In the event that you are misdiagnosed because of negligence, you are likely entitled to make a claim for compensation.
Speak to one of MG Legal’s expert medical negligence solicitors today and find out how we can help you, all on a no win no fee agreement.
Pancreatic Cancer and how it affects you.
As the name suggests, Pancreatic Cancer is any cancer which affects the pancreas; an organ that forms part of your digestive system.
Symptoms can include:
Loss of appetite and weight
Nausea and vomiting
Constipation or diarrhoea
Indigestion type symptoms
These symptoms are, of course, relatively vague and so, it is always recommended that you see your GP to see whether they believe a referral for more detailed tests should be carried out.
Pancreatic cancer diagnosis and mortality rates
Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of all common cancers, having the fifth lowest survival rate overall. Around 10,000.00 people every year are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year, with around 75% of patients having a life-expectancy of twelve months or less and over 90% having a life expectancy of five years or less.
Less than 20% of all patients are diagnosed while the pancreatic cancer is in the early stages (1 and 2) and so, because of the rapid progression and high mortality rate, this makes early, accurate diagnosis all the more important.
Testing often consists of some or all of the following:
External scans, such as ultrasound, PET, CT or MRI
Internal cameras and scans, usually using an endoscope
Biopsy, where a small sample of cells is taken from the pancreas and tested
Laparoscopy, also known as “keyhole surgery” to view the pancreas
A more invasive “scope” operation known as an ERCP where a camera is put down your throat, through your stomach and into the digestive system
Some of the above are unpleasant, but a necessary evil if cancer is to be properly diagnosed.
How does medical negligence occur?
Almost all negligence in respect of cancer is related to misdiagnosis, which in turn leads to delays in treatment and in the case of pancreatic cancer, a much shorter life expectancy. With around 93% mortality within five years and 95% mortality at the ten year mark, it is routinely a case of prolonging life rather than cure that is the goal, although around 4% can be said to survive usually in that event that the cancer is successfully removed by surgical procedure, usually following an early diagnosis.
It is the final sentence of the above paragraph which matters more of all - a combination of an early diagnosis and treatment is the best way to ensure survival and even if the cancer is not wholly removed, the prospects of having a longer life are increased by early treatment. So, in such aggressive cancers as pancreatic cancer, any missed opportunity to diagnose the condition, is potentially denying the chance of survival and likely reducing life expectancy significantly.
The first port of call with any symptoms is nearly always your GP, who, whilst not a trained oncologist, is trained to spot the danger signs and to immediately activate the “two week wait” protocol, which is a referral to the nearest hospital with an oncology (cancer) department to have a consultation within 14 days.
At your consultation, you should be properly assessed and routine tests, as listed above, scheduled and performed to identify any potential cancer symptoms or ‘markers’, also known as ‘red flags’. The idea behind this system is that anyone with cancer is diagnosed within a matter of weeks and so can begin, ideally, less drastic or invasive treatment which the cancer is at the earliest stage possible.
Negligence occurs when a medical professional at any stage, misdiagnoses your symptoms as something else and either provides or refers you for the incorrect treatment or simply does not treat you at all. If, because of the act of negligence, your symptoms worsen or your condition is missed entirely, you would then be entitled to make a claim for cancer misdiagnosis personal injury compensation. As with any kind of medical negligence, it is often generally a case of an injury or condition being worsened, or untreated, rather than being caused by the medical practitioner and so, the scope of the claim would depend entirely on the extent to which your condition worsens and your prognosis is less favourable, than if the cancer was diagnosed immediately.
How is pancreatic cancer misdiagnosed?
Returning to the list of symptoms of pancreatic cancer, many of these symptoms could also be attributed to any number of other conditions. Vomiting, diarrhoea and lethargy are common symptoms of many ‘bugs’ as well as food poisoning. Jaundice can be a sign of liver function problems, which themselves have multiple causes, abdominal pain can be diagnosed as IBS, appendicitis and a number of other conditions and lost appetite and weight can come with many conditions, some serious, some not.
An extract from the NHS pancreatic cancer web-page confirms “we find that most patients who come to us do not have cancer, but another condition”. This means that the majority of people who are given a “two week wait” cancer check appointment, do not have cancer. This does not excuse your GP not sending you for one of these appointments- on the contrary, it means that if in doubt and there are genuine symptoms which your GP cannot confidently diagnose as another condition, your doctor should send you for one of these appointments. Once in this referral system, you should expect to be diagnosed, or to at least have cancer confirmed or ruled out, within a relatively short space of time.
The NHS is estimated to see 1,000,000 patients every 36 hours, with the overwhelming majority of these patients treated successfully, without incident and without any problem whatsoever. Unfortunately, mistakes do occur, with misdiagnoses and delays in treatment meaning that cancer can go unchecked from anything from a few weeks to years.
Mistakes can occur at any stage including:
Referrals not occurring, or not occurring quickly enough, to the correct department;
Misdiagnosis of symptoms as another condition;
Where tests are incorrectly ordered, meaning the full range of potential conditions is not screened;
Results are misread, or misinterpreted;
Results are not correctly related to the patient;
Treatment is incorrectly prescribed or surgeries improperly carried out.
The above are a fairly generalised set of incidents which can happen and we know that each case is individual, because each client is an individual and so, whether your experience includes one of the above or a different reason you believe you have been the victim of medical negligence, please get in touch with MG Legal’s specialist cancer misdiagnosis solicitors for a no-nonsense discussion about how we could help you, all with a view to accepting your claim on a no-win, no fee basis.
How does the law define negligence?
There are two legal “tests” which generally establish is a practitioner has been negligent of not. The first is the Bolam test, from a High Court case of Bolam v Friern. This case set the standard for practitioners of any kind of medicine that “the medical professional must demonstrate that they acted in a way that a responsible body of medical professionals in the same field would regard as acceptable or reasonable” Quite simply, if most medical professionals would not have acted in certain ways, those ways are most likely negligent.
There is also an issue of Consent, in that you must be given reasonable advice of the risks and benefits of a procedure before undergoing it. If this is not done properly in advance of the procedure, then even a reasonable consequence can be the result of negligence. This standard was set in the Supreme Court in the case of Montgomery v Lanarkshire where a mother was not told of the full risks of opting for a vaginal birth instead of a caesarean birth. If you believe you were not properly informed of the risk of a complication or negative outcome, this would likely be negligent.
These facts can only, truly, be confirmed by an expert opinion and here at MG Legal, we source our experts directly, rather than via a medical agency, which means we have a direct line of communication to each expert and can ensure they are the right person for the case. This “hands-on” approach has resulted in a much more flexible and personal manner to communicate with experts, allowing us to better act for each of our clients.
How much can I claim for pancreatic cancer misdiagnosis personal injury compensation?
This varies from case to case and your own dedicated personal injury solicitor will assess your case using a combination of expert medical evidence gathered from independent experts, documentation provided by you directly (such as wage slips or receipts for expenses) and various reference materials, the most common being the Judicial Studies Board Guidelines (JSB). The JSB is a reference book updated every couple of years using awards made by the Court for all types of injury.
Your award for your personal injury, also known as General Damages, depends upon the content of your medical evidence and your own comments, with particular focus on the effects of the negative outcome arising from any negligence either in terms of misdiagnosis or negligently performed treatments. General Damages are known as damages for “pain, suffering and loss of amenity” and so, in short are determined by the extent of your injuries, the level and duration of any pain and the effect upon your life and ability to perform various tasks or activities. Awards can range from a few thousand pounds for relatively minor injuries into the hundreds of thousands of pounds for the most serious.
The financial element of your claim is known as Special Damages and this covered any financial aspect including additional monies paid out of income lost. The most common Special Damages include:
Lost Earnings (past, present and future)
Care Costs (both professional and family)
Cost of Future Treatment (including rectification treatment/surgery)
Cost of additional services eg. A cleaner, gardener etc
Before concluding your claim, your expert cancer misdiagnosis compensation solicitor will ensure that every aspect of your claim and all losses are entirely covered and included in your claim. This way we ensure that when you receive your settlement, the money you receive truly reflects the losses and injuries you have suffered.
How long have I got to make a pancreatic cancer misdiagnosis compensation claim?
Subject to the Limitation Act 1980, if you have suffered as a result of medical negligence, then you usually have three years from the date of negligence, or from the date you became aware that the medical practitioner was negligent, to pursue a claim for personal injury.
There are exceptions, for those under 18 years old at time of the injury, in that minors have three years from their 18th birthday within which to make a personal injury claim. Time limits may differ if you are acting on behalf of someone with limited mental capacity,
Who pays my legal fees if I make a pancreatic cancer misdiagnosis personal injury claim?
MG Legal’s expert cancer misdiagnosis personal injury claims solicitors believe that if access to justice should not entail up-front costs, and confusing conversations with fussy solicitors. If you have suffered a personal injury because of mistakes during a GP’s consultation, routine testing, or surgical procedure, as a result of someone else’s negligence, then you should not have to pay up front legal costs to get access to justice. MG Legal accept all claims for cancer misdiagnosis, on a No Win No Fee basis.
Why choose MG Legal for my pancreatic cancer misdiagnosis personal injury compensation claim?
At MG Legal, each solicitor takes a personal interest in each case and we have a dedicated department dealing with personal injury claims occurring in medical negligence. Bearing in mind the delicate nature of your claim, we understand that you will, understandably, be upset, angry and want an explanation as to why you have not received the appropriate treatment for your cancer.
When you instruct MG Legal's dedicated team of medical negligence solicitors, you will receive our utmost attention, understanding, and the best legal advice, until your claim for medical negligence is settled.
If you have any questions or queries, about pursuing a claim for medical negligence, please do not hesitate to contact our offices, for a no obligation, no cost chat. Our friendly team will advise how we can help you, and ensure that making a claim for medical negligence compensation, is as stress free as possible for you.