You may have read in the paper recently that more than 1,900 women in Cornwall could be affected by a computer error which led to thousands of women missing breast cancer screenings. In fact 450,000 women in the UK aged 70-79 missed final breast cancer screenings. Experts have said that the computer error in 2009 could have led to the deaths of up to 270 women.
Delay in health checking is a serious business, whatever and whoever caused it. The problem is if you don’t have the health check then problems cannot be picked up at that time, which may potentially be treatable if caught early enough. If the problems are not picked up either at all or until a later date, the individual’s condition could have deteriorated, potentially to an extent to be untreatable, potentially to death.
Practically what can one do about this? Ideally be aware of at what stage these checks should be done and speak to your doctor and seek a referral for those checks rather than waiting for the clinical service to get in touch with you, but that is all easier said than done.
What can you do if you are concerned that checks have been missed and that has affected your health and prognosis?
You may have a claim for clinical negligence. Clinical negligence is where the standard of care you receive from a medical practitioner/health trust is below a reasonable standard. In this case you would argue that you should have been notified that the checks should have been done at an earlier stage and you were either not notified at all or notified too late.
If you could establish liability you can claim compensation for the resulting injuries, i.e. the progression of any condition between the time period when the check should have been done and when essentially it was done, and how that altered diagnosis and prognosis.
It is a difficult area, the legal claims are complex and require complex expert evidence but these are actionable claims nonetheless.
Here at Parnalls we operate an expert clinical negligence service and can discuss your case with you either on the telephone or face to face and give you either preliminary advice or in-depth advice according to the particular facts of your case.
If you are worried get in touch by calling 01566 772375. A preliminary chat will cost you nothing and it may signpost you in the right direction of what to do and how to do it.
Feature by Katherine Flashman Kitson