Kidney Cancer misdiagnosed as food intolerance

GPs and other medical professionals are being urged not to hesitate with referring patients for further assessment, after a Southport primary school teacher, whose stomach illness was initially diagnosed as a food intolerance, died of kidney cancer.

“Cut out bread”

Merseyside teacher, Miss Claire Tomlinson, tragically lost her seven month battle against kidney cancer. However the circumstances could have been very different had she been sent for further tests when she visited her GP. Instead she was led her to believe that the pain in her stomach was simply a food allergy, with her GP advising her to “cut out bread” as well as cutting out other food types from her diet, last September.

Five months after the initial assessment and after months of further excruciating pain. Miss Tomlinson was finally diagnosed with kidney Cancer. Tragically, by this point, the cancer had already spread to both her lungs and her brain, further limiting her chances of survival. After an attempted course of chemotherapy (which was unsuccessful) she sadly succumbed to the disease and passed away.

“Best to test”

Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident, as other cancer victims have had similar experiences, leading to massive complications in treatment. The case has prompted calls for medical professionals to not be worried about referring patients on for further testing, should there be any doubt at all about the cause of their problems.

Cancer shares symptoms with many other, less deadly illnesses like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and food intolerances like Miss Tomlinson was identified as having. In her case it took further pain escalation and a private body scan (not one prescribed by her GP) to reveal the extent of the damage.

Her parents believe that the care given could have been a little more urgent based on what she was telling her GP. In a statement her parents admitted ‘We’re not trying to say she could have been cured, we just think that the treatment should have been more urgent.”

“’Once you’ve alerted a doctor that something is wrong it’s in their hands and you have to push and push to make sure that people act.”

‘You can’t be frightened if there is something wrong, you have to do something about it because it’s not just going to go away.’

 

Serious Injury Claims with Sincere Law

The legal side

When it comes to suffering from cancer, it is not generally a priority to take legal council. Often it depends on the circumstances surrounding the development of the disease. In Miss Tomlinson’s case she told her parents not to pursue legal action, including after she died, as she felt it was too late.

Sometimes, however, legal aid is something a sufferer may wish to seek. In the role of a serious injury or illness, a solicitor can help with a network of contacts that can arrange and provide essential aftercare, such as fast tracked healthcare, counselling and the planning of future expenses for both the sufferer and their family.

Medical negligence cases take time, care and individual attention to see through. We always aim to achieve a personal service where the sufferer and their family feel they are relieved of a lot of pressure injury and illness can bring.

To have a chat with one of our team about any kind of injury or illness, you can call 01695 722 222 anytime between 9am and 7pm on weekdays. Our team are on hand to offer conscientious, free, impartial advice on what role Sincere Law can play in a serious injury or illness.

We also have an online form which allows you to give details of the problem. From there we can call you and further discuss the details.

Optometrist Given Suspended Sentence for Negligent Manslaughter

Optometrist Honey Rose who is being held responsible for the death of child Vincent Barker back in 2013, has been sentenced at Ipswich crown court.

The gross negligence manslaughter case over optometrist has finished

Sentencing

Miss Rose was found guilty during the summer and was scheduled to be sentenced at the end of the summer. Following her hearing, she was given a two year suspended sentence involving 200 hours of unpaid work. The judge for the trial, Mr Jeremy Stuart-Smith had said it was the first trial like it he had proceeded over.

In 2013, Miss Rose carried out what was meant to be a routine eye examination and didn’t pick up on a build-up of fluid which eventually led to the boy’s death. The case presented by Vincent’s parents was that Miss Rose was negligent in her duty and should have picked up on the problem and suggested treatment. Meanwhile, Miss Rose’s team defended her by stating it was not beyond reasonable doubt that she could have missed the problem during the check-up.

While the sentence is a measure of justice for young Vincent, his parents will not be celebrating. Afterwards they admitted “The outcome of this case does not change our life sentence; we will never be able to fully accept that our special little boy is never coming home.”

 

The cost of a life

As serious injury solicitors, Sincere Law has witnessed the impact that a loss of life can have on a family (particularly a young life). A fatality not only leaves a large emotional void for those left behind, which can never be filled, it also robs the opportunity for the person involved to grow up, enjoy life and fulfil their potential.

In cases such as these it is common for us to arrange for a specialist team to help those left not only organise necessary requirements and grieve, but also to ensure they have the best possible mindset following a death.

It is not easy to return to work or regular life after losing a family member, whether it is a child or adult. We often arrange a team of experts dedicated to sorting any further financial and emotional support to those left behind. In the case of Vincent this would possibly be part of the case to help his parents try and get back to everyday life.

Medical Negligence Severity

Any instance of medical negligence has the potential to be serious or fatal. When a doctor, nurse, GP or any medical professional does not fulfil their duty of care it can have very serious consequences as evidenced.

With the medical world involving drugs, dangerous medical equipment and procedures, it can be no surprise that the smallest issue can lead to a very serious medical negligence claim which involves arranging prolonged treatment, recovery, financial planning and aftercare.

If you would like to know more about how Sincere Law assists with the healing process following a serious injury or death, you can call one of our advisers for free, impartial advice on 0800 092 2896.

If you feel you, a friend or family member may wish to make a serious injury claim and gain a measure of justice for injuries caused, you can either call our number above on weekdays from 9am to 7pm or get in touch via our contact page here.

 

Former carer wins legal battle over paralysis

A grandfather has won a legal battle following an epidural, which he requested not to have, was used and caused enough damage that he was left paralysed from the hip down.

The risks of an epidural injection Medical negligence claim made by carer suffering paralysis after epidural

Irreparable Damage

In 2010, Stephen Olney was admitted into hospital for a routine surgery. He asked not to be given an epidural injection as part of the operation when given the choice, in full knowledge of the risks associated with having one.

As a carer for over 35 years to people with spinal injuries, he had expert insight into the effects of failed epidurals in some of his charges. However, the doctors that performed the surgery decided to go against his wishes and sanctioned an injection which ultimately proved life changing.

Following surgery, he was not properly monitored and the damage escalated when his blood pressure dropped low enough that the blood flow to his spinal cord was deprived. This resulted in paralysis from the hip down and the damage was only spotted two days later, at which point he had an MRI scan and was told he would never walk again.

 

Medical Negligence Costs Lives

Although there are huge positives to having an epidural there are also risks. Perhaps the biggest risk factor with these procedures is what can happen after an operation. As evidenced by Mr Olney, not being monitored is what did the damage.

Doctors will do what they feel is best for a patient, but their judgement is not 100% accurate. Mr Olney’s case is by no means a one off and through our many years within the personal injury profession, we have handled many negligence cases that have carried the same kind of life changing repercussions as his.

Medical negligence is more likely to involve serious injuries given the circumstances surrounding them. Prescribing the wrong medicine can lead to negative side effects, bodily reactions and in the most severe circumstances, fatalities. A wrong move during an operation could see patients slashed or cut, again potentially causing major problems depending on the area of the body affected.

Epidural injection diagram - Sincere Law

 

Compensation isn’t a “Replacement”

Mr Olney’s case was settled at £2 million. It would be easy to mistake this as a  life changing figure, however, unfortunately for Mr Olney, no amount of money could replace the loss of use he is suffering in his lower body.

This is the toll often taken by serious injury sufferers. Compensation can offset new costs and treatment required post surgery, but it can only go some way towards resetting the sufferer’s life to how it was.

However, Mr Olney did admit that “What it can do is make life easier after the event”. The aim of compensation in serious injury cases is to financially secure an injured person’s life, dependant on circumstances. Paralysis for example could affect:

  • Working life (I.E Forcing retraining or retirement)
  • Physical Wellbeing (Could require physio or ongoing treatment)
  • Emotional wellbeing (Could require counselling)
  • Family Support (The injured person could be the main income earner)

In medical negligence cases of this nature, we often put together a specialist team together, who are responsible for planning and providing support for the victim and their families. The design behind this is to help try to rebuild a heavily altered life, as would be the case for Mr Olney. We would do this by supporting him and his family with alterations around the home, limiting the affect on them financially and ensuring they have access to the right level of care and support throughout the claim process and beyond.

For free advice on how we can help victim’s who have suffered an injury because of medical negligence, talk to one of our advisers today by calling 0800 092 2896. You can also get in touch via our contact page.

 

Can Apps Replace Face To Face Consulation?

The NHS has recently been developing a selection of new technology for use at home and in GP practices including wearable technology and static machines designed to identify illness without visiting a doctor personally. However is this money saving strategy the way forward or a step away from the personalised service we all want from the NHS? Sincere Law investigates.

 

Fast track plans

NHS England’s Chief Exec, Simon Stevens, is imminently set to announce a fast track plan aimed at saving the NHS money. The plans attempt to reduce the amount of patients coming in to GP surgeries in the UK daily.

A selection of gadgets will be given out to patients personally whereas more advanced, expensive equipment is planned to be placed in GP surgeries. Of the new technology, Stevens said “they could save tens of thousands of lives a year”. The gadgets will be a selection of wearable technology similar to the popular fitbits as well as larger machines able to identify a selection of illnesses without requiring an appointment with a doctor.

NHS apps attempt to save money

Source

 

Impersonal Service?

The opposition to the announcements is concerns that the new gadgets are a shallow tool designed to simply save money and reduce time spent by medical professionals liaising with patients. Computer technology has come a long way since its introduction but when it comes to healthcare, experts believe that human diagnosis and interaction with a trained, qualified, experienced doctors is far better than an interaction with wearable technology or an app.

Sincere Law’s Catastrophic Injury Partner Chris Walker believes it’s a step in the wrong direction for the NHS, saying:

“It would be a missed opportunity if the NHS didn’t attempt to find platforms to help patients identify illnesses earlier; however this new technology seems a very thinly veiled attempt to stop patients from physically seeing their local GP. There is no substitute for a face to face consultation where a doctor can make a qualified diagnosis and suggest appropriate treatment as opposed to a gadget using predetermined sets of answers only capable of acting within the parameters of its programming.”

 

What Could The NHS Do With technology?

While handing out gadgets to patients may not be ideal from a face to face consultation perceptive, the use of new innovation in the NHS can creative some positive ideas. The “NHS innovation accelerator programme” was launched in 2015 to move the NHS forward by creating new innovations. Currently 68 NHS organisations use one or more of 17 innovations aimed to improve care across the board.

The project works from funding gathered by 17 research fellows tasked with the R&D of new innovations. Following an initial £1 million fronted by the NHS, the researchers found further funding from outside sources, totaling more than £8 million to complete their work.

Important developments as a result of the programme include:

 

  • Join Dementia Research – a service to match those interested in participating in dementia research
  • Nervecentre – A platform to allow doctors and nurses to easily hand over patient information and share details including assessments and observations
  • MYCOPD – a 24 hour self management platform for patients suffering from COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder)
  • HealthUnlocked – A social media platform for patients to connect with others suffering similar experiences

 

One of the innovations is HealthUnlocked, a social media platform

The NHS was involved with much press in the last year from the doctor’s strike to the budget and now as part of the referendum. With some positive news required, the NHS could be better off promoting the good work carried out in the innovation fund projects as opposed to launching new ways to avoid contact. Will the roll-out be a success or a failure? Only time will tell.

 

Scottish MP challenges medical negligence process following stillborn ordeal

SNP member and representative for North Ayrshire and Arran Patricia Gibson MP has called for a change to the medical negligence process following her horrific ordeal in which she gave birth to a stillborn child and almost dying herself.

Due date heartache

Back in 2009, Ms Gibson received the fantastic news that she was expecting her first child. Patricia and her husband Kenneth (MP for Cunninghame North) had both been desperate to have a child which resulted in them opting for IVF treatment. The pregnancy went smoothly right up to her due date, which was when she felt ill.

On her due date she attended hospital and informed the staff she was feeling ill but was told to go home as she had “nothing wrong with her”. She remained and fought her corner until finally the staff agreed to let her stay and was given morphine. No doctor came near her however until the following morning where she was informed her baby had died.

An emergency caesarean section took place, but, after an arduous process where inducing the baby became difficult, her liver ruptured. She lost a lot of blood and thought she was close to death as doctors rushed to help. It was eventually discovered she had pre-eclampsia, which should have been picked up earlier and as a result, she should never have been given morphine.

 

Listening to patients

While Patricia’s nightmare is of course a horrific experience to go through, the ordeal has given her the goal of trying to promote a new culture within UK healthcare. She has three major objectives:

  • “Given that 45 per cent of women who have had stillborns were sent home when they expressed concerns, I want to bed into our culture a more collaborative system where people’s concerns are listened to.”
  • “When mistakes are made, health boards or health trusts should not be investigating themselves. An independent body must be brought in to investigate full-term stillbirths and there needs to be a time limit.”
  • When babies are stillborn at full-term, coroners should become involved as they would be able to pinpoint causes of death and how lessons can be learned.

Ms Gibson’s case was a long and complex affair. Two years after the death of her baby she had still received no apology and was forced to seek legal advice. Two commissioned reports later, and following a lengthy conversation between her representatives and the NHS, she was advised to settle for a small sum as taking her claim higher could have bankrupted her. Ms Gibson’s campaign has turned many heads with her simple mantra that “women know their own bodies, if there is an issue, mum will know”. She has spoken at length regarding the issues surrounding stillbirths and the UK health system, continuing to fly the flag for mothers suffering as a result of not being listened to.

Sincere Law’s Catastrophic Injury Partner Chris Walker weighed in on the issue, stating:

“When it comes to serious injury, it is not just all broken bones and damaged muscles. A large aspect of everything we do is with the mental anguish dealt from incidents such as this. Ms Gibson has taken the brave step to tell her story and to go over two years without an apology is not acceptable. Her case has been prolonged much longer than necessary, but the fact she was not seen by any doctor until she was informed of her child’s death is the biggest injustice. We fully support Ms Gibson’s campaign and hope to see more hospitals listening to mothers when they feel there could be a problem.”

Scottish MP changes to medical negligence procedure

Unfortunately, UK mothers experience on average 3,600 accounts of stillbirth each year with research suggesting that up to half of them could be avoided with the use of scans and more attention to care. Hopefully with more support, Ms Gibson’s campaign can be a turning point in reducing those statistics. To support her campaign you can find her on her official Twitter & Facebook feeds.

The Junior Doctors Strike – A Step to Beating Medical Negligence?

Over the last few months there have been multiple talks between the BMA (British Medical Association) and the government over the pay Junior Doctors are receiving and hours being worked. The initial plans for ‘seven day care’ sparked worry about Doctor fatigue and pay fairness. Sincere Law looks at the risk of increased medical negligence as a result of longer working hours.

Sincere Law, Doctors Strike & Medical Negligence Blog
Junior Doctors protesting the changes Made by the Health Minister: Source

Trusted Practitioners

Doctors have incredible pressure in their daily life to look after all in their care, and do so with professionalism; to the point of being entrusted with people’s lives. Given the time span one is required to train for in order to simply graduate to a fully qualified practitioner is usually 10 years at a minimum, 99% of the time we can more than trust our health to these experts.

A Junior Doctor (about whom the current debate is raging) are usually university graduates who have entered into their training. There are 3 stages of education they follow, all of which have a variety of building blocks to piece together a competent, fully qualified doctor.

 

A Junior Doctor’s Training Timeline

Foundation Training: This is the first stage following University. This training usually takes place over 2 years. In each year, a trainee will be building practical, hands on knowledge by completing work experience in a range of environments from GP’s surgeries to A&E and anything in-between. When these years are completed, the trainee will expect to demonstrate a high level of skills in managing their patient’s needs according to their ailment.

Specialty Training: A Junior Doctor will then move on to either a 3 year GP training qualification or a 4 to 6 year speciality training qualification. Both of these offer a much more in depth learning experience into the practice areas required to either be a GP or a specialist.

Consultancy/GP: Following their furthered education down a more specific path, the next step up is to a more senior level and the final stage of becoming a qualified Doctor. The student will sit postgraduate exams following their route down either speciality training or a general practice certificate to be able to graduate into the position of GP or Consultant; making themselves at home in your local medical centre or hospital.

With so much training time, Doctors are widely regarded as very trustworthy and valuable members of society. What then is fronting the decision to announce strikes from those considered beacons of morality for many?

Doctors Strike News Article, Sincere Law
Junior Doctors take on average, over 10 years to graduate to being a GP or Consultant: Source

30% Cuts & 7 Day NHS Deals

While the latest unrest has been squarely down to a recent proposal by the government to change the value of working hours; there has been conflicts previously (2012) to extend Doctor working hours and operate the NHS in full over 7 days. That proposal was met with derision as the argument was that not enough funding for new Doctors would stretch already overworked and overtired staff.

The most recent decision to strike comes in the form of proposed wage cuts in which unsociable hours would be changed from regular night time hours to after 7pm on a Saturday until 7am on a Monday. The change would effectively count a Saturday shift which lasts until 7pm as the same as a weekday shift.


Junior Doctor Argues against the plans: Sky News

The cuts, matched against a deficit of funding for the NHS would again spur the debate as to Doctors working tired and requiring to work longer hours for the same wages they as previously had; in this, the issue of medical negligence lies.

 

Tired Staff & Your Safety

The argument from the Doctors is that nobody wants to risk patient health when it is avoidable and the recent plans from the government endanger that. The need to work longer hours due to staff shortages could easily see your local A&E department stretched with Doctors being asked to do more than they can handle, seriously opening up the potential for operations to contain errors of judgement. The potential rise in complications and fatalities is not something the general public, the government, or Doctors themselves would be willing to risk.

As a result of vigorous campaigning by Junior Doctors, the most recent strike planned for January was called off just before the deadline to allow negotiations to resume with Health Minister Jeremy Hunt. While the issue isn’t settled yet, everybody has been vocal in their opinions on the strike and the reasoning behind it. Here is a selection of your thoughts.

While there is no definite answer or resolution at this stage, Sincere Law, the entire law community and everybody involved will all be asking the same questions; what can be done to ensure that Doctors get a fair pay, but also ensure patients are safe and well cared for? The answers lie within the disputing parties.