At Co-op Legal Services most claims can be with on a No Win No Fee basis. As part of the Co-op Group, our values of openness, honesty, social responsibility and caring for others are core to the service we provide.
Generally cancer care in the UK is of a very high standard but, unfortunately, given the number of new cases being dealt with by the NHS, mistakes around cancer diagnosis and treatment do sometimes happen. Mistakes can delay a cancer patient receiving the treatment they require and this can affect survival and quality of life.
If you feel that a medical mistake in your care has been made, please call our Medical Negligence Solicitors for free legal advice; if only to put your mind at ease. A specialist Medical Negligence Solicitor will assess the information you provide, then give you free initial legal advice over the phone.
If Co-op Legal Services takes on your claim, your Medical Negligence Solicitor will investigate your treatment by examining your medical records and, if necessary, obtaining advice from independent medical experts.
If your Solicitor’s investigations indicate that a medical mistake has been made, your Solicitor will share the outcome of the investigation with NHS Resolution, the NHS Authority that manages claims on behalf of the NHS.
Once NHS Resolution agrees that a mistake was made, we will work with NHS Resolution to agree the effect of the mistake on your eventual outcome and the appropriate amount of compensation to be awarded.
If the other side deny liability (fault) for the mistake or negligence then your Medical Negligence Solicitor can start litigation to secure a fair compensation settlement for you. Most of our claims settle out of Court, so in most cases it would not be necessary to go to Court.
Examples of Medical Negligence Cancer Cases
The two cancer cases below (not dealt with by Co-op Legal Services but reported in a legal database*) demonstrate how Medical Negligence Solicitors can work to secure compensation, rehabilitation support and future care needs.
The Case of Mrs JB
Mrs JB was a 32 year old, single mother of 3 children.
In April 2010, Mrs JB found a small lump in her right breast. Investigations took place and did not reveal any significant abnormality. Subsequently, in July 2012, Mrs JB reported a small lump in the left breast to her GP. An ultrasound scan was arranged and was reported to show that the lump was a cyst.
Mrs JB was advised that the lump was a cyst and accordingly agreed to proceed with a conservative approach. Unfortunately, it was later revealed that the ultrasound scan had been misreported and that it had, in fact, shown a tumour rather than a cyst. Mrs JB was referred back to her GP in May 2013 with a significantly larger lump in her left breast. An ultrasound and a biopsy were carried out and Mrs JB was diagnosed with Grade 3 breast cancer.
Mrs JB subsequently underwent a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Mrs JB instructed solicitors to investigate whether the care provided by her hospital Trust had been of an acceptable standard. Her solicitors’ investigation concluded that there had been an avoidable delay in diagnosing and treating Mrs JB’s breast cancer and that the delay had resulted in the cancer progressing and becoming terminal. The independent expert evidence obtained by Mrs JB’s solicitors suggested that the pain Mrs JB suffered as a result of lymphoedema, radiotherapy and metastatic disease would have been avoided with prompt and appropriate treatment.
Following the investigation by Mrs JB’s solicitors, the evidence was shared with NHS Resolution. NHS Resolution, on behalf of the hospital Trust, agreed that the care provided to Mrs JB had fallen below the standard Mrs JB was entitled to expect, on this occasion.
The remaining issue was what, if any, effect the substandard care had on Mrs JB’s long-term prognosis.
Investigations continued which ultimately showed that the cancer had spread and that Mrs JB was terminally ill. Mrs JB’s solicitors worked with NHS Resolution to agree a suitable amount of money to both compensate Mrs JB and to enable her to make provisions for her dependants.
The parties agreed a figure of £300,000. The compensation included amounts to reflect the shortening of Mrs JB’s life and the loss of earnings and pension loss as a result.
The Case of Mrs WT
Mrs WT was 36 when she found a small lump in her breast in early 2008. This was removed and, following a biopsy, she was given the ‘all clear’.
In December 2008 Mrs WT found another small lump. She was advised that this was nothing to worry about and had been caused by an earlier pregnancy. The lump however continued to grow and in April 2009, a biopsy revealed that she had stage 3 breast cancer.
Mrs WT underwent a right mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormone therapy. Unfortunately, an MRI in April 2011 revealed that she had cancer of the spine. She underwent radiotherapy and it was agreed that more aggressive treatment was inadvisable.
Mrs WT sadly died as a result of metastatic adenocarcinoma in June 2012. She was survived by her partner, Mr NT, and her young daughter.
Mr NT instructed solicitors to investigate whether the care provided to Mrs WT by the hospital Trust had been of an acceptable standard.
The investigation by Mr NT’s solicitors indicated that there had been an avoidable 10 month delay in the diagnosis and treatment of Mrs WT’s breast cancer and that a triple assessment should have been carried out in May 2008.
Following the investigation by Mr NT’s solicitors, the evidence was shared with NHS Resolution. NHS Resolution, on behalf of the hospital Trust, agreed that the care provided to Mrs JB had fallen below the standard Mrs JB was entitled to expect, on this occasion.
The remaining issue was whether, had the diagnosis been made 10 months earlier, Mrs WT would have avoided the development of metastatic cancer and would have survived.
Mr NT’s solicitors and NHS Resolution considered the available evidence, including independent expert evidence, and worked together to agree total compensation of £250,000 in respect of the injuries to Mrs WT and to make provision for her dependants.
Cancer in the UK
There were over 350,000 new cases of cancer in the UK during 2014. Common cancer types include:
- Breast cancer
- Bowel cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Liver cancer
- Skin cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Brain tumour
Once diagnosed, and depending on the type of cancer, there are a variety of treatments available, including: surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and hormone therapy. Appropriate treatment can improve survival and quality of life.
*Cases reported in the Personal Injuries Quantum Database of LexisNexis.
Co-op Legal Services has offices in Manchester, Bristol and London.