There are many forms of medical negligence. Patients of medical practitioners have been harmed or caused further ill health due to the negligence of those who have a responsibility to care for people’s health. Medical Negligence is the term given to those who have been caused ill health, injury or even further illness which if a physician or health care assistant of the same competency would have been put in the same situation would have not caused such neglect.
On a daily basis, even minute by minute basis people put their health in the hands of health care assistants, from carers to consultants’ believing that such people know best and that they have your best interest at heart. It is fair to say that those who work within the health care industry are just humans, and all people make mistakes not ones that are deliberate or mean to cause others harm. However, it is almost comprehendible when people make mistakes in other areas of different industries, however when it comes to people’s health there is not the slightest room for error. When becoming any type of health care practitioner or assistant the main priority should always be the patient and their needs coming first. It is very important to get the right advice from a medical solicitors also make sure they are clinical negligence specialists.
One of the major and most common medical negligence errors is misdiagnosis. If medical practitioners are not thorough within their jobs or fail to recognise signs of illnesses then patients can go undiagnosed meaning that they are not diagnosed at all or physicians incorrectly diagnose them meaning they are misdiagnosed. When a person becomes ill or injured the quicker the ailment is treated or medical attention is sought the sooner the illness or injury can be treated. However if the illness or injury is not recognised straight away or as quick as it could be then this may mean that the person’s health can worsen and in some cases the matter of minutes can mean almost everything.
Misdiagnosis of Breast Cancer
It is vital that any person male or female who notice even the slightest change to their breast or breasts have it checked out immediately as the sooner it is looked at and examined the better. Leaving changes to the breast and not seeking medical advice may only make things worse. If a person notices any changes that are not normal for them, i.e. women’s breast can often change during their menstrual cycle but any changes usually go back to normal. However if for some reason the changes that are taken place are constant and not normal for yourself then these changes should be looked at straight away.
Attending the GP (general practitioner) is usually the first point of call and it is up to then whether to refer a patient on for further investigation. If a GP fails to refer a patient on to a breast clinic with changes to their breast or breast for any reason and it actually turns out further down the line that the patient actually had breast cancer then this is not only breast cancer misdiagnosis but it can have serious consequences for the patients health.
Misdiagnosis can even take place once the GP has referred the patient on but the breast clinic have failed to diagnose breast cancer, this could be due to many reasons;
- Not the right diagnostic tests carried out
- Insufficient tests carried out
- Poor investigations and examinations
- Reading, interpretating investigations and diagnostic tests wrong, i.e. mammogram and ultra sound
- Failing to perform a biopsy
- Incorrectly performing a biopsy
There are several ways in which breast cancer maybe misdiagnosed, it can even be delayed in its diagnosis as the patient may keep going back until the correct diagnosis is given.
If something as serious as breast cancer is misdiagnosed or even delayed in diagnosis the consequences for the patient can be catastrophic. Breast cancer can be fatal if not caught in time and treated immediately with the correct form of medication and treatment. Like with any illness the sooner it is diagnosed and treated the better. Any delay in treatment or medication can mean the illness can worsen.
Breast cancers can have different stages, the stages may depend on when the signs and symptoms of the breast cancer are discovered and how quickly that discovery is. If the breast cancer is discovered in its early stages the patient has a better chance of making a full recovery that is why diagnosing a person with breast cancer at the earliest possible moment is vital. Any delays in treatment and medication for breast cancer patients may mean the cancer has the chance to develop and the prognosis may not be as good as if it was caught in its early stages.
If you think that you may have suffered breast cancer misdiagnosis, maybe you brought attention to the changes in your breast or breast to your GP but you feel they never acted quick enough, you wasn’t referred straight away or you had to go back several times as the changes you were experiencing where not going away. Medical negligence misdiagnosis can also result from mistakes made when you were referred to the breast clinic and mistakes or negligence took place i.e. delayed diagnostic testing or reading the results incorrectly that meant you never received the treatment and medication at the earliest possible moment. If any delays or misdiagnosis has become apparent and your illness worsened as a result then you have a valid claim to make a claim for breast cancer misdiagnosis.
Breast cancer is not only the most common type of cancer in women it is the most common type of cancer in the UK. Breast cancer occurs when cells begin to develop and grow in a way that can’t be controlled by the body’s natural defence system. Although it mainly effects women it can also effect a small minority of men and maybe more difficult to diagnose in men. There is no clear answer what causes breast cancer and there are different forms, some even form due to faulty genes that are inherited through family generations. There are also factors that influence those who may be more susceptible to breast cancer. Unbelievable research takes place on a daily basis constantly improving ways to detect, diagnose and treat different types of breast cancers. Physicians and researchers do an outstanding job when it comes to breast cancer.
There are various ways in which breast cancer can show signs and symptoms, these can also depend on where the cancer is present within the breast or surrounding area, one of the ,most common indicators of breast cancer can be a lump within the breast however it is vital to remember 90 per cent of lumps are not cancerous. Roughly one in every eight women may experience breast cancer.
Signs and symptoms can include:
- A lump that is contained in the breast, or an area of thickening in the breast.
- A lump that may be in the area surrounding the breast such as near the collar bone.
- The breast can change shape, maybe become larger or different in shape.
- The change can happen in one or both breasts.
- There can be discharge that may contain blood either from one or both nipples.
- Lumps or swellings in the armpits should be checked out.
- Any dimpling or inverting of the skin on the breast may be a sign as this may be where the lump or thickening may be.
- Change in the appearance of the nipple, it may become inverted or there may be a rash on or around the nipple.
It is always vital that any changes to the breast that are not usual i.e. breast sometimes change due to menstrual cycle then return back to normal, should always be checked out any vital signs that are missed can have huge consequences on a person’s health.
Any changes that are not usual should always be checked out at the earliest possible moment the likelihood it may not be anything to worry about but if it happens to be the sooner it is diagnosed and treated the better.
How much compensation can be claimed for breast cancer misdiagnosis?
When claiming compensation for breast cancer each claim is unique and their is many add ons that you can claim to get extra compensation such as care claims to find out how much a medical negligence claim could be worth we reccomend you talk to a compensation expert or check out a UK medical negligence compensation website that does list the prices.
Breast Cancer Diagnosis
There are several ways that breast cancer can be diagnosed there are initial stages and then more in depth investigations. If a person is worried about a change in there breast or breast, maybe they have discovered a thickening/lump or changes to the shape and size that is not normal for them, then the first point of call must be to go straight to their GP (General Practitioner). The GP will usually refer the patient on if they feel that the change that has taken place is something that needs further investigation.
The referral will be to a specialist breast clinic where a mammogram will take place, (x-ray of breast or breasts), also an ultra sound may also be needed as a second method of looking inside the breast.
A biopsy will be taken which is a procedure that requires a needle with a tube connected to it to be inserted in to the breast/ lump in order to obtain a small amount of breast cells to be examined. There are several ways to take a biopsy and anaesthetic may also be needed.
It will be the biopsy that may give the final answer as to whether the change to the breast or the lump is cancerous. It is important to remember that most changes are nothing to worry about.
Going to your GP
If you have any of the symptoms of Breast Cancer as listed earlier, or if you feel your breast has changed in any way which unsettles you or is out of the norm, then you must visit your GP for a checkup. Most often the minor change proves to be either natural or something benign so you should refrain from worrying, and get a professional opinion.
You may even be asked to return after a few weeks, and this will undoubtedly scare you. How-ever most changes that you find in the breast maybe due to a benign case which could very well go away after the menstrual period. If it seems that you really do have symptoms of Breast Cancer then you’ll be referred to a specialist breast clinic.
Blood tests may be ordered by your Doctor to detect any cancer activity in your breasts. Blood can be used to detect two types of markers.
• Protein: A cancerous tumour produces a very specific type of protein in the bloodstream, the presence of which serves as a positive marker for Cancer.
• Circulating Tumour: These are cells which have been able to break free from the tumour and enter the bloodstream.
This test may be done before, during or after treatment (or all three) for the following reasons:
• Before: To help identify breast cancer and determine whether it has spread to other parts of the body.
• During: To determine whether the cancer is responding to treatment.
• After: To watch out for signs of recurrence.
A Mammogram refers to an X-Ray of the breast. This is produced by compressing the breast within X-Ray plates to produce a clear image of its insides. Two types of Mammograms may be administered:
• Screening Mammogram: This is done to detect breast cancer even without any symptoms of Cancer. It is a routine checkup.
• Diagnostic Mammogram: This is done when suspicious results are found in the Screening Mammogram, or after some signs of cancer have shown up, and the mammogram helps determine whether they’re cancerous in nature. These signs may include lumps, nipple inversion, nipple discharge, dimpling of the breasts, etc.
Whereas the Screening Mammogram only takes two X-Rays from two separate angles of the breasts, a Diagnostic Mammogram relies on a lot more X-Rays taken from different angles. The Radiologist involved may zoom in on particular parts of the breast to get a better picture of any potential abnormalities. This process generally takes quite a while longer than Screening Mammogram. This isn’t just helpful in identifying tumours that can’t be felt on the surface, but also detecting ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), that is, abnormal cells in the lining of the breast duct.
What to do If you have been misdiagnosed with breast cancer?
If you have been misdiagnosed it is best to get free legal advice from a specialist medical negligence solicitors as you could be intitled to claim compensation. Its very important that you do use a proven medical solicitors with a good track record. Clinical negligence is a big part of the mistakes surrounding breast cancer.
Ultrasound, or Sonography, is the use of high-frequency sound waves to outline a particular part of the body and produce its image on a screen. This can be done by moving a probe across the surface of the breast in order to view different parts of the breast and examine it for oddities. It can even differentiate between fluid-filled cysts and solid masses. While cysts aren’t necessarily cancerous, solid masses may be cancerous. This is ideally suited for women under 35 with breasts too dense for Mammograms.
Getting your Test Results and What do they mean?
It can take several days before you get the results of the tests. This can naturally be a very anxious wait, which is why it is highly advised that you talk to friends about what’s on your mind, or educate yourself about everything to do with Cancer. The Hospital would have given you a time frame within which you’d receive the results. Until then it is also proven helpful to visit chatrooms online and talk to people who might be going through something similar. You can even contact a support group if you have any questions that you can’t find the answers to. To learn more about Cancer and its diagnosis, you can find further details by following this link: breast cancer diagnosis.