06 Jun Cancer Misdiagnosis Compensation Claims
It is hugely unfortunate to have cancer misdiagnosed and, in many cases, this may be an outlier due to simple human error. However, if cancer is misdiagnosed through systemic failure, gross negligence or the diagnosis is inordinately delayed you may be able to make a claim for compensation
What causes Cancer Misdiagnosis?
There are many different reasons for cancer to be misdiagnosed, in many cases a diagnosis of cancer may be completely missed or misdiagnosed as something else or the severity of the cancer may not be fully appreciated.
Misdiagnosis of cancer can be categorised in three main ways:
Failure to diagnose cancer
This occurs when doctors fail to diagnose cancer in a patient. This may allow the cancer to spread further through a patient’s body. The cancer may also increase in severity meaning the patient requires much more invasive treatments, or meaning that the cancer cannot be treated at all.
Incorrect diagnosis of cancer
Cancer can be diagnosed as another medical illness and the patient may not receive the appropriate treatment. In this case, a patient may also receive unnecessary treatment that may bring undue suffering to the patient.
Patients can also be incorrectly diagnosed with cancer when they do not have cancer. This could lead to a patient receiving unnecessary surgery or radioactive treatment.
Late diagnosis of cancer
In this case, a doctor may miss clear signs of cancer at an early stage and the cancer may progress to a more severe form or spread throughout the patient’s body when it could otherwise have been avoided.
How do I make a claim for misdiagnosis of cancer?
Cancer misdiagnosis is a form of medical negligence and as such, is handled differently to other personal injury compensation claims. Medical negligence claims cannot be brought before the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (the PIAB or Injuries Board) like other personal injury cases. Your case must be brought before the courts or your medical negligence solicitor may be able to reach a settlement on your behalf.
How do I know if a claim for cancer misdiagnosis?
To determine if your case is valid it must first be within the timeframe for making a personal injury claim. For adults, that is within two years from the Date of Injury or within two years from the Date of Knowledge of the injury. For children and minors the date of knowledge is when the minor turns eighteen years of age; a minor can also pursue a claim prior to their 18th birthday. If you are outside of this time period, you will be barred by the Statute of Limitation Act from bringing your claim. A case can also be defended on the basis of undue delay, so all matters must be investigated as soon as reasonably possible.
Then, we must determine the nature of your injury due to the cancer misdiagnosis and receive relevant expert medical reports confirming your injury. Liability must then be determined on the part of the medical practitioner, hospital, clinic or organisation you are claiming against.
As such, we recommend you speak to one of our personal injury solicitors specialising in medical negligence to discuss your case. All our solicitors based around our four offices in Dublin are registered with the Law Society of Ireland, so can provide you with expert advice.