Case Studies: Healthcare

Patient wrongly told that she had terminal disease recovers £150,000

O’Reilly Stewart Solicitors (Healthcare) LLP was instructed by a patient in respect of disputed care which commencing in and around 2014.  At that time the patient had been diagnosed with breast cancer.  Her initial treatment was highly successful reducing the tumour in her breast, and the intention was to undertake a mastectomy.  Pursuant to an MRI scan in 2015, however, her Treating Clinicians identified what they considered to be a spread of her disease in her liver.  The Plaintiff contended that she was advised by her Clinicians that she was suffering from metastatic disease in her liver and as a consequence of same, her disease was likely to be terminal.  It was the Plaintiff’s case that she was told that she had between 3 months and 12 months to live.  Unsurprisingly this information came to the Plaintiff as a “hammer blow”.

Such was the nature of the diagnosis the patient and her husband enquired as to whether or not the Clinicians were certain.  They sought a second opinion, which they were denied.  The Plaintiff reduced her hours at work permanently but as time progressed it became increasingly apparent that the diagnosis of metastatic disease might be in doubt.  The Plaintiff ultimately obtained a second opinion from a Liver Specialist who suggested that she was not suffering from terminal metastatic disease.  She continued under review, and ultimately was accepted for surgical treatment of her original cancer, in her breast.  The patient remains well to this day.

The patient originally raised a complaint in relation to her care and instructed Patrick Mullarkey of O’Reilly Stewart Solicitors to act on her behalf in September 2017. Expert independent medical evidence was obtained which supported the patient’s allegations that her diagnosis of terminal disease was insecure and that she ought to have been afforded a second opinion at an earlier point.  Proceedings were commenced in September 2019 and were successfully concluded in 2021 with payment of damages in the sum of £150,000 plus full costs.  Damages comprised compensation for the personal injuries sustained by the Plaintiff, including upset and distress, and loss of earnings.  The payment was made without admission of liability by the Defendants.

Our client comments,”…We were kept fully informed throughout the process in timely fashion. We found Paddy and Rosemary to be extremely efficient and were easy to contact when needed… From the outset Paddy displayed a realistic expectation of our case. He demonstrated an innate sense of fairness. He helped us navigate the daunting legal process when we were overwhelmed. We were delighted with the outcome of our case…”

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