Delay in diagnosing cancer

  • Posted

Posted 23/07/2014

Rosaline Wong 1397335781_RosalineWong2.jpg

Delay in diagnosing cancer

A 50-year-old man from Inverness, who was told repeatedly by his doctors that he was suffering food poisoning, has been diagnosed with cancer in his oesophagus. He visited his GP and local A&E several times in six weeks but was told that his symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting were nothing more than an upset stomach. None of the health professionals noted his family history of oesophageal cancer.

After losing six stone, doctors put an endoscopy down his throat which revealed a oesophageal tumour. Now he has been told that his cancer is terminal and he has just two months to live.

Rosaline Wong, a clinical negligence lawyer at Ashtons Legal, comments: “Survival rates for common cancers in Britain are lower than European average and  as many as 10,000 people in the UK die every year because of late diagnosis. Recently the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt became so concerned that he called for GPs who repeatedly fail to spot crucial symptoms to be named and shamed.

A number of my clients have been a victim of medical negligence. One of my clients complained of persistent headaches and blurred vision to his GP but was told that he had a migraine. Within a week, his eyesight deteriorated. His optician spotted the worrying signs and referred him to an eye specialist immediately. Unfortunately a locum eye doctor did not appreciate the severity of my client’s symptoms and failed to examine his visual field properly. He was discharged home with no follow up. 

A month later, he became very ill and underwent an emergency MRI scan which revealed that he had a brain tumour. Unfortunately before he underwent surgery, the tumour had bled causing long term damage to his eyesight and brain.

My client’s case is not unique as 62% of cancers of the brain and central nervous system were first diagnosed after an emergency admission. It is not known why his GP did not seem interested in referring him to a specialist to investigate the root cause of his persistent and severe headaches. Despite surgery, my client is unable to return to work or drive. He and his family are left to deal with the long term consequences caused by the delay in diagnosing his condition ”.


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