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Misdiagnosis of Cancer and Unnecessary Treatment

A recent case reported by BBC about a care worker being misdiagnosed with cancer which the victim described as a “cruel joke” is a sad case of what happens when a serious medical mistakes happens.  The lady in question was diagnosed with a rare type of blood cancer resulting in her receiving unnecessary as well as intrusive cancer treatment in the form of chemotherapy for  around 18 months.

Cancer treatment can result in many side effects such as nausea, physical and not to mention emotional pain.  For this lady it was so bad that she had to give up her job. She discovers the misdiagnosis when she seeks alternative treatment at another hospital there she is told that she does not have cancer after all.  The lady received compensation for the misdiagnosed cancer and unnecessary treatment.  However, one has to question how can this happen in the first place?  Of course, the compensation will go some way to recompense this lady for her unnecessary suffering but the time lost and the suffering can never be undone. The offending hospital admitted that they failed to carry out a key test before the diagnosis but one has to ask once the treatment commenced were there also missed opportunities to check the presence of cancer?   Cases like this can cause others to question their care, fortunately, incidents like this do not happen often but when they do lessons must be learnt.

Acting for clients with medical negligence cases I have over the years gained an insight into the suffering clients and their families undoubtedly go through when something as traumatic takes place.  The suffering continues long after the case concludes as essentially having treatment when not necessary is a form of ‘assault’ on the body and mind.  As patients we trust those who care for us and rightly so.  The trust once broken is hard to restore even if when others provide the best medical care afterwards.   This is  disturbing case and fortunately, a misdiagnosis is rare yet this is of no comfort to a patient who has been through the shock of being told that they have cancer and then receiving treatment they absolutely did not need.  Mostly, patients receive excellent care from their clinicians but odd cases like this serve undermines the good work done by the medical profession.  

This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.

Published by Daxa Patel

Clinical Negligence Solicitor & Partner

IMD Solicitors LLP


Contact us on 0330 107 0107

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