Cancer Medical Negligence


    The Irish Cancer Society reports that every three minutes someone is diagnosed with cancer, and every hour someone dies from it.

    Diseases such as cancer are on the rise. It’s estimated that half of the population will develop cancer during their lifetime.

    The most prevalent types of cancer in Ireland are:

    • skin cancer
    • prostate cancer
    • breast cancer
    • Bowel cancer
    • Lung cancer

    A lot of money has been invested in cancer screening and the discovery of new treatments. As a result, the survival rate of cancer patients is increasing. Screening is a great tool for detecting early indications of cancer.  In Ireland, there are currently three screening programmes: breast, cervical, and bowel screening. Breast screening is offered every two years to women between the ages of 50 and 67. There are smear tests offered for women between the ages of 25 and 60 in order to diagnose cervical cancer at an early stage. For men and women aged 60 to 69, the new bowel screening programme (BowelScreen) is offered; this test can be conducted at home using a FIT (Faecal Immunochemical Test). An individual will be invited for a colonoscopy if symptoms of blood are observed (which occurs in 5% of examinations).

    What defines cancer medical malpractice?

    Referral for follow-up examination should be given to any patient who presents with cancer symptoms to their GP, A&E, or any other point of entry into the health system.  Once a cancer diagnosis is made, a treatment strategy must be put in place and implemented immediately.

    Some cancer-related situations could be considered medically negligent:

    • Failure to recognise cancer symptoms and indicators
    • Failure to be seen in a timely manner after a referral
    • There was no cancer diagnosis (or an inaccurate diagnosis)
    • Improper treatment planning
    • Not keeping track of the cancer’s progress and making necessary adjustments to the treatment plan
    • Failure to disclose the hazards of cancer therapy

    How does cancer medical negligence affect people?

    Cancer can grow to a more severe level if it is not diagnosed in a timely manner. Untreated or undiscovered cancer is liable to cause additional damage with each passing day. While some tumours are slow-growing and some are more treatable than others, any delay can mean the difference between curative and palliative treatment.

    A more extensive and prompt treatment, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, may be required as a result. The removal of polyps that may develop into malignant tumours in the early stages of bowel cancer, for example, is conceivable. However, if cancer is not treated within a few months, it may spread beyond the colon to local lymph nodes and eventually to distant organs if it is not treated. Many therapeutic options exist for patients with advanced cancer, however if cancer diagnosis or therapy is delayed, the chance of being cured may be lost forever.

    What qualifies as cancer medical negligence?

    Cancer medical negligence is characterised as:

    • As a result of this negligence, the medical care you received fell below a decent standard (i.e. another medical practitioner would not have made the same mistake).
    • A medical expert’s opinion and medical data are used to substantiate your case.

    What is covered by a cancer medical negligence claim if it is successful?

    Cancer medical malpractice claims may involve two areas of loss:

    • As well as specific costs related to cancer, for example, it could cover expenses previously incurred (such as travel, lodgings, and medical treatment) and future expenses (such as lost wages and care needs).
    • Costs will be determined by the type of damage you incurred, as well as other factors.

    Why should you work with Tiernan Medical Negligence Solicitors?

    • As a result of cancer medical malpractice, Tiernan Solicitors has successfully managed a large number of injury and disease claims.  After speaking with a solicitor, we will listen to your case attentively, empathically, and only propose moving forward if we believe there is merit to your claim.
    • In addition, our medical negligence solicitors will compile all of the required facts for your case including medical records and oversee the submission of the claim on your behalf.
    • Your recuperation and care, or the care of a family member or loved one, can be focused on when you entrust us to manage your claim on your behalf.

    Cancer remains one of the greatest causes of death in the developed world. In recent times however major improvements have been made the result of which means many forms of cancer where the diagnosis is made early enough and is treated correctly can result in a greater life span or complete cure.

    Any patient that attends their GP or A&E with symptoms of cancer should be referred for follow-up assessment without delay. If cancer is found then a treatment plan should be formulated and put in place without undue delay.

    There are many incidences where negligence can occur in relation to cancer including but not limited to the following:

    • Failure to see the signs and symptoms of cancer in the initial stages
    • Not acting in an expedient fashion or referring the patient to a specialist if the relevant symptoms are there
    • Incorrect diagnosis
    • Incorrectly treating the disease
    • Misinterpretation of cancer as another illness
    • Failure to monitor the patient

    The concern for the patient is that where there is negligence and a failure to diagnose cancer at an early stage the result is that the treatments for the disease can be less effective.

    Where cancer has not been diagnosed owing to negligence or treated in a negligent fashion then the patient may be entitled to take a claim for medical negligence.

    Tiernan & Company Solicitors have successfully pursued many cases involving cancer misdiagnosis and failure to treat cancer correctly. In many of our cases the delay in diagnosis has resulted from a failure to properly carry out and analyze and respond to abnormal blood tests. We have also dealt with cases where there was a failure to perform scans and/or properly interpret the scans.

    If you wish to bring a claim for cancer medical negligence then it will be necessary to collate all relevant medical records and send them to an independent expert who will provide an opinion where appropriate that the medical care received was below a reasonable standard resulting in injury or loss. In the event that there is a case then we would pursue a case for medical negligence and seek compensation for:

    • General Damages for Pain and Suffering
    • Special Damages

    Special damages comprise of expenses including but not limited to all costs of care and future treatment and any loss of earnings that you may or will suffer as a result of the cancer.  The cost of any care needs into the future will also be ascertained and these will also be claimed in addition.

    The Statute of Limitations for bringing a case for medical negligence is 2 years from the date of the alleged negligence. However under the legislation this Statute may be extended to two years from when you knew or ought to have known that there was negligence.  “Knew or ought to have known there was negligence” is an interesting concept when it comes to medical negligence as often we would argue that it is really not only until we get an expert report that we definitively know that there is negligence. However it could also be argued that the time begins to run from when the client has a suspicion that there is negligence and contacts a solicitor.

    Why instruct Tiernan & Company Solicitors in bringing a claim?

    • We have successfully pursued many oncology and cancer claims. Many of these cases have settled through mediation and some we have brought successfully to Court.
    • We have over 30 years’ experience in medical negligence claims and over the years have formed relationships with the best legal experts throughout Northern Ireland and the UK. This is important as they are always on hand to advise in relation to the issues of negligence allowing the cases to proceed smoothly and in an expedient fashion.
    • Your case will always be dealt with by an experienced solicitor specializing in medical negligence.

    Recent cases of note:

    • Successful settlement of case involving a delay in cervical cancer diagnosis
    • Substantial damages in prostate cancer case
    • Settlement of case involving delay in diagnosis of breast cancer
    • Substantial damages for Plaintiff who suffered delayed diagnosis of cancerous tumour
    • Substantial damages for Plaintiff who sued on behalf of her son who died owing to failure to diagnose cancerous tumour

    If you wish to contact Tiernan & Company Solicitors please contact Mark Tiernan on (01) 6622822

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      What to do next?

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      Telephone: 01-6622822
      Fax: 353 (01) 63 13 783

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