Negligence Claim

After four and a half years I have finally concluded my claim against the NHS for misdiagnosis. All I ever wanted was for the people involved to say - we made a mistake. Now I have a letter from the trust saying that ‘the service they provided me was not up to standard’. not a full apology but the best I’m going to get.
I now feel that I can put it all behind me and move on. We are planning a lovely 50th birthday trip for later in the year - the birthday the surgeon said I would be lucky to see, yet here I am NED at present and ready to start celebrating.
To all those contemplating legal action, it is a long process but we can achieve our goals.
Jakey

Hi Jakey,

I concluded my claim against the NHS last year - delay in diagnosis of a year caused by a GP not referring me in a timely fashion and the medic at the breast clinic failing to carry out all three parts of the Triple Assessment despite the fact that I had two palpable lumps.

The whole thing was terribly long and drawn out despite the fact that in the end the Trust didn’t even put in a defence but settled out of court. No apology of course.

Congratulations. And enjoy your birthday trip.

Best wishes,

Sue.

Well done. I’ve just started a claim as when I had my mastectomy they left a swab in which wasn’t found for two weeks! I’ve already had a couple of letters basically fobbing me off, and saying they can’t admit to anything even though they have written to my GP to say what happened. Any tips on how to deal with this would be gratefully received.

Glad to read this post. I’m deliberating lodging a complaint as I was misdiagnosed years ago (non hormone receptor cancer was diagnosed.) I now have advanced hormone receptive mets.
All I want is an apology, and a reassurance that what appears to have been lax procedures in the pathology department, have been tightened up.
I’m not sure whether I should go ahead, and in many ways feel I should be conserving my energies for my ongoing battle with the disease. But I simply shouldn’t be in this position, and I think that for my own peace of mind, I must ask (and hopefully get) some answers.
Hope you have a wonderful and well deserved holiday!

Hi Elaine, sunnymeg, jakey and supersue

I am very interested in your posts as i am wanting to sue my hospital. I have sent a request to get my medical records first as I want to see if they leave anything out! I wouldn’t put it past them for a moment. I have just found out that I wasn’t given the whole story after my mastectomy and so wasn’t put in a position where i could make an informed choice.

I don’t hold out much hope of getting anywhere but am so mad i need to do something! The joke of it all is that my hospital - now my ex hospital as i have transferred elsewhere - is supposed to be a Cancer Centre of Excellence and is world renowned!

How did you find a solicitor to take your case or did you go to one of the medical negligence people that you see advertised? Did it take ages and what information did they need - and did you get your medical records?? Sorry for all the questions but many thanks.

Best wishes, GraceT

I too am contemplating suing my hospital. Big, world-renowned, teaching hospital.
I had an MRI in December '07 as I had severe back pain. The report said only herniated discs but missed the great big metastatic tumour in my tail bone! Idiots! Fortunately I have a copy of the report.

It took them another 4.5 months for them to actually diagnose me. That’s 4.5 months of excruciating pain and unchecked growth. By suing I want to make sure that this doesn’t happen to someone else.

We shall see…

I pursued a complaint against the hospital Trust and doctor who misdiagnosed me in March 2003. I was recalled after a routine mammogram and told I had three cysts aspirated. I was diagnosed 7 months later with grade 3 breast cancer…one of the ‘cysts’ was not.

Basically: first I consulted a medical negligence solicitor…a good one in London recommended by a friend. I paid £1000 for an independent oncologist’s report which said I had a case for negligence but not for causation (which in English law means that but for the negligence I would have had a 50% chance of survival…stats showed that the negligence probably decreased my 10 years survival stats from 42% to 18%) The solicitor advised that I would not get insurance to pursue a civil case and I was not eligible for legal aid so I took her advice not to pursue a civil action. The solicitor did not charge for her advice…but that was something she decided on a case by case basis.

I then pursued a local complaint against the Hopsital Trust and got nowhere. So I then complained both to the Healthcare Commission about the Trust and to the GMC about the doctor. The Healthcare Commission upheld my complaint and I got a lengthy letter of apology from the Trust with promises for action to prevent similar things happenng in future. (the Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust in Essex). The GMC agreed to pursue a case of professional incompetence against the doctor, and this was finally heard in September 2007…my case was shared with many others against the doctor. I was a witness. The doctor was found culpable of professional misconduct and placed under supervision for two years. Counsel for the ‘prosecution’ had argued for him to be struck off but lost that argument.

Am I glad I pursued this? Yes.

Why? I feel I have done all I can to preventt what happened to me ever happening to anyone else.

Am I bitter? No. I think people can get consumed with anger and bitterness during such cases, and somehow I managed to avoid this. Nothing that happened coudl have stopped me getting cancer. I will never know whether the mistakes cost me my life…I have an incurable recurrence and will die eventually of breast cancer but I might have done anyway.

My ‘day in court’ was a kind of catharsis…and I am proud of myself for pursuing this. I think the harssed doctor was truly sorry. The Trust was culpable because it did not have systems and procedures in place to support him.

best wishes to thsoe considering complaining…but go gently…dealing with the disases has to be the priority I think.

Jane

Grace and Elaine,
Most of the medical solicitors you see advertising are medical accident not negligence.
I found mine through the law society’s list of registered negligence solicitors, the initial visit was free whilst we discussed whether or not there was a case to answer.
Before resorting to the law I went through the NHS trusts own complaint procedure and that actually provided a lot of my evidence.
I was sent full copies of all my medical notes and all the experts opinions and the only information the solicitor needed from me was details of what had happened or not in my case.
It isn’t an action to take lightly because if you don’t win it can get horrendously expensive unless you have insurance, but this should all be explained at an initial consultation.
As I said before it is a long process but getting my letter of apology made it worth it for me.
My advice is to do what feels right for you, a good starting point is to lodge a formal complaint with the trust as that may bring you the answers you want.
Best wishes Jakey

Jakey thanks for the advice. I’m still very much in two minds as to what to do, as I genuinely feel my energies may be better used being directed to present and future “battles”.
Further, my complaints would be against a private hospital, and I suspect that they will have a huge array of solicitors at their disposal, which would make the situation even more difficult for me. At present they are investigating the matter, and I’ll see what answers they offer me in the first instance. Should they be sympathetic and apologetic, I’ll accept with good grace, and move on, hoping that lax procedures will be tightened. If they attempt to “fudge” or deny responsiblity, then I’ll likely react quite differentl! All I want at the end of the day is an apology, and a reassurance that they are more vigilant so this can’t happen again,