Misdiagnosis of Breast Cancer

According to the leading cancer charity Cancer Research UK, there are over 46,000 Britons diagnosed with breast cancer every year, making it the most common type of cancer in the UK.

In some cases unfortunately, some patients could have had their cancer diagnosed sooner. If this has happened to a loved one or to you, what options are open to you? What things can you do, and is it worth claiming for medical negligence to stop the same thing happening to someone else?

What Constitutes Breast Cancer Negligence?

There are many reasons why a breast cancer case might end in a claim for medical negligence. Some of the most common are:

  • Failure to diagnose breast cancer quickly enough
  • Not diagnosing breast cancer from the patient’s symptoms and signs
  • Missing breast cancer after the patient has had a scan

NICE Guidelines on Referral

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has set out guidelines stating when GPs should arrange to refer their patients urgently to a breast cancer specialist. These are:

  • Patients with a separate, distinct, hard lump which is fixed, with or without dimpling, whatever their age
  • People aged over 30 who have a distinct lump which is still there after the next menstrual period, or which appears after menopause
  • Women aged under 30 with a growing lump, or who have other factors linked with cancer such as a strong family history
  • Patients who have had breast cancer before and who have a new lump or other symptoms, whatever their age
  • Patients who notice a change in their nipple shape
  • Patients experiencing bloody discharge from one nipple
  • Males aged 50 or over who have found a firm lump on one breast but who are not experiencing changes in their skin or the shape of their nipple.

Any of these patients should be seen within a fortnight of being referred.

Medical Negligence and Delayed Diagnosis

An estimated 1 in 9 women [and a very small number of men ] will be affected by breast cancer at some point during their life. The prognosis for many of them is good however, as breast cancer can often be successfully treated. The chances of making a full recovery are always greater if the cancer is caught early. Any delay in the initial diagnosis may lead to the cancer spreading which means it requires more radical treatment and may even prove fatal.

It’s for these reasons that it is so important that GPs pick up the symptoms and signs of breast cancer and make sure that patients are referred on to see a specialist. If the doctor delays, this could lead to a delay in diagnosis and any treatment which is needed. Any delay could dramatically change a patient’s chances of making a full recovery.

Could I be Entitled to Make a Claim?

If you think that the care provided to you by did not meet the standards you would expect from a medical professional, then you might be able to make a claim for medical negligence compensation. Misdiagnosing or failing to diagnose a serious condition such as breast cancer can have a serious effect on your recovery chances.

You may have grounds for a claim if your family doctor doesn’t pick up the symptoms of breast cancer, and as a consequence your treatment is delayed. If you had been examined properly, you may well have been diagnosed with breast cancer, and the suffering may have been reduced.

Sometimes, if a doctor delays in diagnosing breast cancer this can mean that the cancer has the opportunity to spread. This sort of misdiagnosis of breast cancer can cause serious levels of suffering, and even has the potential to be fatal for the patient concerned.

If you, or a loved one, has experienced any delay in breast cancer diagnosis which has led to some sort of injury, get in touch with a specialist solicitor as soon as possible to find out whether you have fallen victim to medical negligence. If a medical professional has not identified symptoms of breast cancer or has failed to refer you for further tests then they might have given you a below standard level of care. If this is the case, then you will have grounds for putting forward a claim for medical negligence compensation.

Thinking of a Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis Claim? Call our specialists today

Our expert Medical Negligence team can help you recover the compensation you are entitled to.

We offer FREE initial phone advice, a FREE first appointment and no win no fee arrangements for medical error claims – so you don’t have to worry about paying legal bills

  • Call our team now on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 today for a FREE initial phone consultation OR
  • Fill out the enquiry form below

    Antibiotics Prescribed More Often in Afternoon Clinics

    According to a recent study, doctors are much more likely to wrongly prescribe antibiotics later in the day due to tiredness. The study found that family doctors become “worn down” by having to make a series of decisions through the day, and that by late afternoon they were far more likely to dish out antibiotics for respiratory infections than during morning appointments.

    Researchers adjusted the study to make allowances for different types of patients, the end diagnosis and even the individual doctor, but it was still shown that doctors were more likely to give antibiotics as the day progressed.

    These findings were published in JAMA Internal Medicine [ the peer-reviewed medical journal published twice a month by the American Medical Association]. The study was done by looking at 21,000 visits by adults to their GP surgery during morning (8am to 12 noon) and afternoon (1pm to 5pm) sessions. The study looked at data from 23 different primary care practices over almost a year and a half.

    Doctors are continuing to prescribe more and more antibiotics despite worries that over-prescribing is fuelling the growth of superbugs which could prove dangerous in the future for patients undergoing routine medical treatments and procedures. In some areas of the UK, doctors are prescribing twice as many antibiotics than those in other areas.

    Many GPs have confessed to giving patients antibiotics to “get rid of them” or to deal with over-anxious parents. The UK government has set up a taskforce to look at the growing resistance to antibiotics and might investigate each practice’s prescribing rates.

    The research seems to prove that GPs get “worn down” during their working day, and by afternoon, antibiotic prescribing was on the rise. The data showed that around 5% more patients were getting antibiotics at the end of a clinic compared with earlier and researchers also suggest a number of ways around this, such as looking at clinic schedules, making sessions shorter and giving doctors more breaks or snacks.

    Doctors – just like Israeli Judges!

    We’re not surprised by these findings as we’ve blogged on something very similar before. Back in 2011 I posted an article on the business log of our main law firm website which was called “Do Judges eat often enough?” That article was based on research carried out by a prestigious Israeli University and was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    The Israeli researchers discovered that the meal time habits of Israel’s judges affected whether or not they approved parole applications. The research showed that at the start of the working day, around 2 out of 3 applications for parole was granted. As the day wore on, the judges began to refuse more and more applications, and the approval rate finally dropped to zero. After a break for a meal however, approval rates went right back up to almost the original level, and then started to fall once more.

    The accepted explanation for this is blood sugar levels dropping through the day. The theory goes on to state that making decisions is taxing, and as people start to get tired, they look for the easiest solution. In the case of the judges, refusing to grant parole is easier than accepting. There is evidence to back this theory too; favourable judge decisions to grant parole took 7.4 minutes on average, whereas decisions to refuse only took 5.2 minutes. Longer written verdicts were also issued in favourable decisions at 90 words on average compared with 47 words when rejecting.

    It’s therefore hardly surprising that prescribing errors in American doctors mirror the experiences of parole hearings and the eating times of judges in Israel.

    Looking For A Medical Negligence Solicitor? Contact Us Now

    Victim of a medical error? For FREE initial phone advice as well as a FREE no obligation first appointment with one of our medical claims solicitors:

    • Call our team now on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 or
    • Complete the email contact form below

      Survey Shows GP Practices Under Increasing Pressure

      A recent survey of NHS GPs found that as many as 4 in 10 GPs expect to shut up shop within the next 5 years. Doctors’ representatives said that the findings indicated that too many family doctors were at the end of their tether, and that large numbers of them were thinking about retiring early, or expect the GP service to be centralised to cope with a GP shortage.

      20% of GPs questioned said that they expected to be forced into a reduction of routine appointments, and a third were planning to reduce the number of services offered by their surgery.

      The survey, which was carried out by Pulse magazine, found that 42% of GPs expected that their surgery would be closed within five years, and that 135 expected that they would close the doors within two years. As many as 1 in 20 GPs expect to be closing within six months, saying that the main reasons for considering closure included overwork and burnout.

      Does the NHS have enough GPs?

      The deputy chairman of the BMA, Dr Richard Vautrey, said that the poll proved that GPs were struggling to cope with the rising demands being placed on them. GPs have also recently met with the Health Secretary to express their feelings about being overworked and there being insufficient doctors to meet demand. The NHS has since announced a plan to put more money into general practice in an attempt to decrease pressure on hospital services.

      Another recent study showed that thousands of GP patients could risk being left without access to a doctor as the number of surgeries considering shrinking their practice areas has doubled in just a year. The study showed rapidly increasing numbers of surgeries which are reducing their catchment areas, refusing to take on new patients or asking existing patients to move elsewhere.

      Victim of GP Negligence?Want to Claim Compensation? Contact Us Now

      For FREE initial phone advice about your medical negligence case, as well as a FREE no obligation first appointment with one of our medical claims team:

      • Call us now on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 or
      • Complete the  email contact form below

        GP Waiting Times Getting Ever Longer

        According to the chairman of the Royal College of GPs, Dr Maureen Baker, patients are running the risk of potentially serious illnesses going undetected because of unacceptable delays with GP appointments. The current appointment delays experienced by many are a “national disgrace”, says Dr Baker.

        Figures recently published by the NHS from their six month long survey of GP practices in England show that 1 in 6 patients are having to wait a week or more for an appointment with their practice nurse or GP. By the end of the year, as many as 58.9 million patients in England alone will have endured a wait of seven days or more to see their doctor, an increase of almost 50% on the people who waited a week or more in 2013.

        Dr Baker painted a gloomy picture for the future, and said she expected lengthy waiting times to get even worse in 2015. She said the “devastating” statistics from the NHS England survey proved that there are just not enough family doctors in the UK, and that doctors simply cannot cope with the rising demand for appointments. Baker’s conclusion was the people who are suffering are the patients.

        Another survey, led by the RCGP, found that out of the 1,001 people surveyed, half of them agreed with the College’s opinion that GP waiting times are a “national disgrace”. 29 people said they had been asked to wait over a week the last time they had asked for a GP appointment, and less than a quarter of respondents felt that there were enough GPs to cope with a growing and ageing population.

        In 2013, 47 million patients had to wait a week or more to see their doctor, and numbers have risen sharply since then. Delays in getting an appointment are being blamed on a perceived shortage of GPs to cope with increasing demand. According to the RCGP, deteriorating working conditions will mean that as many as 1,000 GPs will be hanging up their stethoscopes for good by 2022. They also say that the number of unfilled GP vacancies has gone up fourfold since 2010.

        In the middle of 2011, only 13% of patients were waiting a week to see their GP. This had risen to 14% by the end of 2012, 15% by the middle of 2013, and 16% by July this year, according to the GP surveys.

        There’s been plenty of controversy in recent years about the high number of medical negligence claims being made and the cost of that to the NHS. It is hardly surprising that more mistakes are made when patients simply aren’t being seen quickly enough. Shorter waiting times for patients to see their own is surely one of the answers to cutting down on the high number of claims for medical negligence compensation – not putting barriers in the way of patients whose health has been compromised by negligent medical professional.

        Thinking of a Medical Negligence Claim? Contact us now

        For FREE initial phone advice and no win no fee claims;

          Up to 200 GP Surgeries Classed as Failing

          The man in charge of inspecting family doctors, Professor Steve Field, has warned that as many as 200 GP surgeries face being closed down or placed into special measures due to serious failings in patient care.

          Professor Field stated that the current situation was so serious that some of the worst performing surgeries would be forced to close their doors immediately, and others would be given a maximum of 12 months to improve, or also face closure.

          Early inspections by the CQC (Care Quality Commission) indicate that as many as 200 out of the 8,000 GP practices across England may fall into the “failing” category and could be placed into special measures.

          The new, more rigorous programme of inspecting every GP surgery will be launched shortly and all GP practices will be inspected. Inspections begin next month, and the results will be made publically available in a similar way to Ofsted inspection reports for schools.

          During the pilot phase of the inspection process, inspectors found a huge range of issues such as patients thought to be suffering from cancer being referred late to see a specialist, patients being given the wrong type of medication, staff shortages, management chaos, over-prescribing of antibiotics, childhood vaccines not being properly refrigerated and old-fashioned and unclean premises.

          The team led by Professor Field has been inspecting surgeries across England for the past year. During one check last December at a practice in Nottingham, maggots were found.

          Hardly surprisingly, the BMA have refused to accept the inspectors’ findings. One of the most senior GPs at the BMA, Dr Paul Cundy, who had his own surgery inspected during the pilot phase, said the new inspection system was “unfit for purpose” and caused outrage when he criticised the CQC for inspecting surgeries when “they can’t get their own house in order”. This can be taken as yet another indication that our GPs, who are in the main very good at what they do, cannot accept that there could be anything wrong with the system and then heap the blame onto someone else.

          Professor Field said that the results of the pilot inspections suggest that although only 2% of surgeries fall into the “failing” category, the large variations in care standards found were “very serious” and could affect the health of thousands of patients. Professor Field also painted a picture of improvement given that when the inspection process started almost a third of practices were failing to meet the basic standards, and this has now dropped to less than 20%.

          Additional support has been allocated from NHS England to the very poorest surgeries to help them improve. Professor Field’s team believe that some of the “failing” surgeries had been performing at a very low level for many years. His conclusions were that although the GP service here in the UK is seen as the “jewel in the crown” of the NHS, it is being undermined by a very small number of surgeries and GPs who are just not coming up to scratch.

          When asked to respond to the findings, unsurprisingly the BMA passed the buck. Dr Chaand Nagpaul, Chair of the GP Committee of the BMA said that failings were due to an “extremely difficult and challenging” environment. He also flagged up issues such as accommodation which is not fit for purpose, and said it was not fair to blame GPs for factors which they couldn’t control.

          Just how are we going to improve the overall standard of England’s GPs and reduce the number of medical error compensation claims if their own governing body will not accept that any of their members could ever be capable of substandard care?

          Considering making a medical negligence claim? Call us today

          Here at Bonallack and Bishop, our accredited solicitors specialise in medical negligence compensation – and offer FREE initial advice on the phone, a FREE first appointment and no win no fee representation.

          • Fill out the contact form below for a call back at a time to suit you

            How To Make A Bone Cancer Misdiagnosis Claim

            Cancer is regrettably something that almost half of us will encounter during our lives according to Macmillan Cancer Support – and it can be an incredibly stressful and scary time. Luckily, in the UK we can expect a high level of care and treatment for any type of cancer, bone cancer included. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that mistakes are not made, and medical negligence (sometimes called clinical negligence) simply occur far too often in our hospitals.

            If you have been diagnosed with cancer and believe you have suffered due to an error made your medical care, you could be eligible to make a claim for compensation.

            What Is Bone Cancer?

            When it comes to bone cancer, there are primary tumours (a tumour that actually starts by growing inside one of your bones) and secondary tumours (when existing cancer spreads into the bone from another part of the body). There are four main types of primary bone cancer:

            • Osteosarcoma: the most common type, this is found mainly in children and young people, and develops mostly in the larger bones of the body.

            • Ewing’s Sarcoma: this is usually found in the shin, thigh, or pelvis, and mainly affects children and people under 20 years of age.

            • Chondrosarcoma: this usually affects adults between 40 and 50 years of age, and can develop in the shoulder blade, ribs, pelvis, thigh and upper arm bone.

            • Spindle Cell Sarcoma: this affects adults over 40 years of age but has similar symptoms to osteosarcoma.

            Symptoms of bone cancer include: progressively worsening bone pain that is more painful at night, swollen joints, sweating (again, more at night), weight loss, and a high temperature. While bone cancer is very rare, all of these symptoms should be checked out by a doctor if they occur together. While the causes of bone cancer aren’t always clear, people can be more likely to develop it if they have had exposure to radiation or if they suffer from Paget’s disease of the bone.

            What Can Bone Cancer Misdiagnosis Involve?

            As with any form of cancer, there are several different ways in which bone cancer can be misdiagnosed. As the main treatment used for bone cancer is chemotherapy (to shrink the tumour) followed by surgery to remove the affected bone (in the past, this involved amputation, but now can be done using a metal implant as a substitute), a misdiagnosis can lead to unthinkable consequences. A recent study found that primary bone cancer was being misdiagnosed by some doctors as growing pains or sporting injuries, due to the symptoms of pain in the bones and swollen joints being similar in both cases. This can be especially true of osteosarcoma cases, which occur mostly in children and can get misdiagnosed due to more common explanations. You could be entitled to make a compensation claim for bone cancer misdiagnosis if:

            • A diagnosis of bone cancer has been made when you haven’t actually got cancer.

            • A failure to diagnose bone cancer has led to a delay in your treatment.

            • Symptoms of your cancer were mistaken for something else entirely.

            • Any delay occurred with your diagnosis.

            • A medial professional failed to properly inform you of the outcomes and risks of a procedure or course of treatment.

            • Improper methods were used during tests which led to further complications.

            There can be other forms of misdiagnosis when it comes to bone cancer, so make sure you get the advice of a professional, experienced medical negligence solicitor before you make a claim.

            Making Your Bone Cancer Misdiagnosis Claim

            As with other claims of medical negligence, it is very important to make your claim as soon as you become aware of the issue. This is because there are often strict time limits for these types of cases (generally you will have three years from the moment you knew about the problem within which to make your claim), and therefore it is absolutely essential that you don’t delay. If you think you may have through claim, get in touch with our team today.

            Thinking of making a Bone Cancer Misdiagnosis Claim? Contact Us Now

            If you’re unsure whether or not you could make a claim for bone cancer misdiagnosis (or any other form of medical negligence), don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

            Our specialist solicitors are highly experienced in all forms of medical negligence and will be able to guide you through the whole process of making a claim. If you have any questions regarding bone cancer misdiagnosis, give us a ring today; we offer a FREE first phone call as well as a FREE initial consultation, either at our offices or at your home or hospital if you are unable to travel. We can offer you the best advice possible on your claim and inform you what your next steps should be regarding your bone cancer misdiagnosis.

            • Just call us now on 01722 422300

            • Or reach us via the enquiry form below for expert advice.

              Failings revealed in one in three UK GP practices

              The UK‘s worst GP surgeries have been listed after innovative new spot-checks were carried out by the Care Quality Commission (“CQC”) on 1000 practices in England, many of which were targeted after concerns. The result of these spot-checks was the finding that one in three GP practices (34%) were not meeting basic standards of care. Ten in particular were found to have “very serious failings” and could be forced to close.

              These investigations uncovered failings included practices that were “visibly dirty” with two practices that were found to have maggots in the treatment rooms. Recurrent failings through many of the surgeries were out of date oxygen cylinders, a failure to keep a register of children at risk of abuse and doctors who were unable to use basic lifesaving equipment. Moreover, Professor Steven Field, the CQC’s new chief inspector of general practice, said “we found some surgeries where there were out of date vaccines in the fridge” – rendering them potentially useless leaving patients exposed to deadly diseases.

              Perhaps, the most disconcerting thing revealed was that there was found to be a lack of competence by GPs and that many were simply “not up to it” – many of which were relying on “tick box” systems that could potentially leave many patients with cancer undiagnosed.

              Another regular theme of the investigation was difficulty in getting access to see a GP. This leads to further problems as there is a risk that patients who cannot get an appointment will then decide not to try to see a doctor again until it is too late.

              Following on from these spot-checks it is intended that all GP practices will be given an individual rating within the next two years due the concern raised about the standard of care provided by many practices.

              Although the inspections did find many good examples of patient care, it is the “unacceptable variations” in quality that need to be dealt with.

              Click here to learn more about GP negligence claims.

              Victim of GP negligence? Call our specialists today

              For FREE initial phone advice and a FREE 1st appointment from expert UK Medical Negligence Solicitors you can trust

              • Call us on (01722) 422300 or

              • Complete the contact form below

                Annual competency checks – aimed at 1000 GP’s subject to serious concerns

                Yes, we all love the NHS. Yes, we believe all doctors and nurses are wonderful and 100 cent committed to their job. No, we hate the compensation culture.

                Or at least that appears to be the generally held view. However any closer examination of the real situation, shows quite clearly that despite the fact that the vast majority of medical staff are competent and committed, a small number of doctors and other medical staff are simply incompetent – and it’s those poor quality doctors who give rise to many medical negligence claims.

                No it’s not just the rant of another grumpy medical negligence solicitor – much of this comes from the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

                Today he has announced that every GP must be subject to an appraisal and competency check each year. The Health Secretary confirmed that in a survey of 300 different health bodies, “serious concerns” were raised about 0.7% of GPs. That may not sound much of a problem – until you do the maths. Given that there are 175,000 doctors in the UK, 0.7% adds up to a staggering 1000 dodgy doctors. So the government appeared to be accepting the fact that 1000 doctors nationwide have a real level of incompetence. On making a further simple calculation on how many patients each GP sees on average every day [ given how quick the average consultation is, estimates are that the average GP might see perhaps 20 or even 25 patients daily], there is clearly an absolutely enormous number of people who are being treated by substandard doctors each and every day.

                The government doesn’t like to admit it – and blames the so-called compensation culture – but the latest move proves, without doubt, that far too many of our GPs are simply not up to scratch – they are mis-diagnosing and making errors in drug prescriptions and treatment on a huge level. That is why medical negligence compensation claims are made and that’s why we are proud, not embarrassed, to ensure that victims of medical errors are properly compensated and that doctors, medical practices and hospitals are encouraged to ensure adequate levels of doctor competency.

                Despite what government says publicly about the so-called “compensation culture”, medical negligence solicitors and governments are pushing for the same outcome – better treatment of patients.

                  Extent of GP prescription errors revealed

                  Breaking News today includes the shocking research, which was commissioned by the General Medical Council (often known as GMC) of the huge number of errors aid by when writing prescriptions. In a survey of 1,777 GP patients, an amazing 5% of all prescriptions written by family GPs contained a mistake. Whilst most of these errors have been classified as only mild or moderate, approximately one in every 550 was felt to contain a serious error.

                  The NHS issues 900 million prescriptions every year in England – so scaling up the survey, implications are that a full 45 million of those would include mistakes – with a frightening 1.8 million of those mistakes considered severe. One in eight of all patients surveyed reported a mistake in a prescription – which rose to a remarkable 40% of those patients who are over 75.

                  Our medical negligence solicitors do see the real suffering caused by inaccurate prescriptions. Let’s hope that the NHS and GMC take the recommendations in the report seriously – the survey called for improved training for GPs and an increased role for pharmacists in helping GPs prescribe.