Cancer Misdiagnosis Claims

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Cancer Misdiagnosis Claims


medical negligence claims

When treating cancer, an accurate and timely diagnosis is crucial in deciding the most effective treatment, and to get the best possible outcome for patients. 

Unfortunately, misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of cancer can and does occur, and this form of medical negligence can often lead to devastating consequences for patients and their families.

In Ireland, individuals affected by cancer misdiagnosis have the right to seek compensation through legal claims. This guide explores the nature of cancer misdiagnosis claims, including what they involve, the common types, consequences, and how to initiate the claims process.

Helen Coughlan

Helen Coughlan
Medical Negligence Solicitor

Helen Coughlan is a partner and advises on medical negligence*, family law and personal injuries*. Helen is a qualified family mediator and collaborative law practitioner and is Chairperson of the Family and Child Law Committee of the Law Society.

Contact Helen Today

What Are Cancer Misdiagnosis Claims?

Cancer misdiagnosis claims involve taking a legal action against healthcare professionals or institutions where a failure to properly diagnose cancer, or a delay in diagnosis, has resulted in harm to the patient.  These claims can arise from either diagnosing cancer when it is not present (false positive) or failing to diagnose cancer when it exists (false negative).

Common Types of Cancer Misdiagnosis:

  • False Negative Diagnosis: This occurs where a cancer is present but is missed or diagnosed as a less serious condition. This can lead to delays in treatment which affects the patient’s outcome. 
  • False Positive Diagnosis: This occurs where patients are incorrectly diagnosed with cancer, which may lead to unnecessary or unneeded treatments, or potentially surgery. This can often cause undue stress and have a significant impact on the patient’s mental health.
  • Misclassification of Cancer: This occurs when the initial diagnosis incorrectly identifies the type or stage of cancer, which can potentially lead to inappropriate or ineffective treatment.

Consequences of Negligence:

The impact of a cancer misdiagnosis can be far-reaching and can affect patients in some of the following ways:

  • Progression of Cancer: A delay in diagnosis can allow cancer to progress to a more aggressive stage,  which reduces treatment options and can negatively impact cancer survival rates.
  • Unnecessary Treatments: A cancer misdiagnosis may cause the patient to undergo stressful and harmful treatments for conditions they do not have.
  • Emotional and Psychological Distress: The misdiagnosis of cancer can create significant mental anguish for patients and their families.
  • Financial Strain: A missed or misdiagnosis of cancer may lead to financial strain caused by additional medical treatments, loss of income, and other expenses can be overwhelming for individuals and families.

Common Causes of Cancer Misdiagnosis:

Factors contributing to cancer misdiagnosis often include:

  • Failure to Order Appropriate Tests: Healthcare providers may neglect to order necessary imaging studies or biopsies.
  • Misinterpretation of Test Results: Errors in reading and interpreting test results can lead to misdiagnosis.
  • Lack of Follow-Up: Failing to follow up on test results or patient symptoms can result in missed or delayed diagnoses.
  • Communication Failures: Poor communication between medical professionals and with patients can contribute to diagnostic errors.

How to Make a Claim:

If you or a loved one has suffered due to a cancer misdiagnosis, you can take the following steps to pursue a claim:

Step 1: Seek Legal Advice

The first step in making a claim for a cancer misdiagnosis is to consult with a solicitor experienced in medical negligence and cancer misdiagnosis claims. They will assess the merits of your case, help you determine whether you are eligible, advise you on the likelihood of success, and guide you through the entire process. 

Patrick J Farrell Solicitors specialise in the area of medical negligence, if you have been affected by a cancer misdiagnosis, do not hesitate to contact us regarding your concerns and to receive expert advice. 

Step 2: Gather Evidence

Your solicitor will request your complete medical records, which are crucial for supporting your claim. This includes all of your medical records, any correspondence with your doctor or medical practitioner, and all other documentation related to your care. These documents provide evidence of the care you received and are essential for establishing that negligence occurred.

Step 3: Independent Medical Assessment

It may be necessary to have an independent medical expert evaluate your case to establish whether the care you received constituted negligence.

Step 4: Letter of Claim

Once your solicitor has gathered all necessary evidence, they will draft a Letter of Claim and notify the doctor (or medical practice) that you intend to take a case against them. Your Letter of Claim outlines the details of your claim, the alleged cause of negligence leading to a cancer misdiagnosis, and the resulting harm or injury. 

Step 5: Response and Resolution

The doctor or medical practice, through their own legal team, will respond to the Letter of Claim. They may accept responsibility and offer a settlement for any harm or suffering; or they may dispute the claim which will lead to further legal proceedings. 

Many claims are settled out of court, and  your solicitor will negotiate on your behalf to arrive at fair compensation for  your injuries, any financial losses, and any future care needs. However, if a settlement can’t be reached, your case may proceed to court where your solicitor will prepare for and represent you in any court proceedings.

Seeking Legal Support for a Cancer Misdiagnosis

Cancer Misdiagnosis claims can be complex and require a thorough understanding of both medical and legal issues. If you or a loved one has suffered due to a misdiagnosis of cancer, it’s important to seek expert legal advice to ensure you receive the justice, closure and compensation you are entitled to. 

If you believe you have a case for a Cancer Misdiagnosis claim, don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation. Our expert team is committed to providing the compassionate guidance and support you need to achieve the best possible outcome.

Have You Experienced Medical Negligence?
Let the Experts Stand By You.

At Patrick J Farrell & Company Solicitors, we understand the profound impact medical negligence can have on your life. With a legacy founded by Patrick J. Farrell and carried forward by a dedicated team, we have been advocates for justice for over four decades. Our commitment to putting our clients’ interests first, combined with our extensive legal expertise, makes us the ideal partners in your pursuit of justice.

From the moment you walk through our doors to the resolution of your case, you’ll be treated with the utmost courtesy, respect, and understanding. Choose us – where your well-being is our top priority. Reach out to us today and let our experienced solicitors guide you every step of the way.

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