Delay in diagnosis of breast cancer

Most cases we see involving GPs arise out of their failure to refer patients to hospital sooner.  This issue is often compounded when you get seen by the Nurse Practitioner instead.

This happened here.  A lady in her early 50’s found a lump on her breast.  She tried to see her GP but instead got the Practice Nurse.  She was assured it was a benign cyst.  It wasn’t.  By the time she returned and saw the GP and was then referred to hospital, there was a delay of over 6 months in diagnosing the cancer.  Thankfully, it was not too late to save her.  However, her treatment was more severe, and her outlook not as optimistic as if she had been seen sooner.

The case was defended on the basis that even if she had been referred sooner it would have made no difference.  A common tactic.  We sued and shortly before a Trial got an acceptable offer of compensation to settle. We don’t think the Defendants wanted to risk a Judge blaming them.

Hilton Armstrong, March 2022