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A 28 day battle to get justice for a Lady following a delayed cancer diagnosis.


Posted in News on Tuesday, December 1st, 2020

The Medical Negligence team acted on behalf of a lady who presented to her General Practitioner (‘GP’) in June 2015, with a complaint that she was passing blood.  This complaint required an urgent review as it is a cardinal symptom of cancer.  The GP’s plan was to refer her for a urology assessment.  However, the referral letter was never sent by the GP.  In September 2015 (three months later), the lady asked for a smear test to be carried out. The result demonstrated that she had cancer and she underwent extensive surgery. Unfortunately, following the surgery it was established that the disease had spread to her lymph nodes (metastatic disease).  Our client felt totally let down by the medical profession, she had a concern that time had been lost in relation to her treatment, and if her cancer had been diagnosed sooner it would not have spread.  As a consequence of the metastatic disease she required extensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy.   This treatment impacted on her general health and gave rise to both short term and long term permanent physical problems.  In addition, the delayed diagnosis of cancer had an overwhelming psychological impact on our client who was worried, and remains worried about her mortality.

The difficulty with a delayed cancer diagnosis case, is that but for the negligence one has to try and work out what stage the cancer would have been at if it had been diagnosed when it should have been diagnosed.   The Defendant, accepted that he had failed to send the referral letter.  However, he argued that it was not wrong to refer her initially for a urological review. It was also argued, that it would have taken many months to investigate (contrary to guidelines in fact), and that therefore, in effect, by the time our client would have got to see a Gynaecologist (which she ultimately did) there was really no real time lost and her cancer who have already spread by then. They were effectively seeking to trade on the imperfections within the HSE system which was somewhat distasteful.   Experts used “back-extrapolation” to try and work out in all probability the stage of the cancer at an earlier point in time and the intricacies and nuances surrounding back extrapolation were extremely complex.   It involved instructing, a radiologist, mathematician and oncologist to counter the Defendant’s arguments.

The matter was fought with considerable vigour and was ultimately at hearing for a total of 28 days.  Apart from the Plaintiff, every other witness was a clinical expert or academic witness.

The team at Cantillons ultimately agreed a very successful financial award for our client. Our Client received a written apology from the GP just before the commencement of the trial.   However, the apology was considerably watered down given that the matter was at trial for 28 days.

Contact us at Cantillons Solicitors at +353 (0)21 4275673 or info@cantillons.com if you would like more information.

* In contentious business, a Solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.  Many Personal Injury Solicitors portray themselves as “no win no fee Solicitors Cork”. This term can be misleading and it is essential that you discuss fees with the Personal Injury Solicitor you ultimately choose. At Cantillons Solicitors, we are entirely transparent.

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