Suing the hospital for telling me I had cancer?

(427 Posts)
MoralityPondering Wed 16-Jun-21 12:58:02

Can I? Should I? Family and friends are telling me to. I was diagnosed 2 months ago at a private hospital after MRI & biopsy. 3 surgeries later and now last week I've been told it isn't cancer at all. They had it looked at 3 times to decide it wasn't cancer so it doesn't seem to be a straight forward decision. I'm not sure it's the right thing to do anyway. I just feel how I did when I was diagnosed - like my life has been ripped apart again.

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MrsPelligrinoPetrichor Wed 16-Jun-21 13:00:16

What surgeries did you have? Do you mean full on surgeries or biopsies?

So it isn't cancer,that's a good thing isn't it?

RonniePickering Wed 16-Jun-21 13:03:42

The NHS missed my mum’s cancer and she was advised to sue (but didn’t, she was glad they ultimately saved her).

I can imagine your distress but I wouldn’t sue.

MoralityPondering Wed 16-Jun-21 13:04:52

Yes full surgeries that have left me with scars and lifetime risks of further complications. It is a good thing. I know it is but I just feel lost. Like I had adjusted to having cancer and all the treatments that were going to come with it. I had told my family, my children, everyone. And now I have to go back to the person I was before. It's hard to explain I think. I'm just so confused.

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LaurieFairyCake Wed 16-Jun-21 13:05:07

I think a debrief might be a good idea with the medical professionals

Your case is not straightforward - you had something that even with multiple medics involved looked like cancer

Cancer is not something that is always easy to diagnose

Would you consider counselling to come to terms with what's happened ? thanks

Your friends/family are just understandably reacting to having been worried about you for months

OffRampHilton Wed 16-Jun-21 13:06:07

Would you order that they waited? What if you had indeed had cancer and the wait was seriously detrimental to your treatment?

Suing results in more risk-adverse consultants and delays in treatment for others.

Herewegoagainok Wed 16-Jun-21 13:07:07

Can you give it time op or would you have to start proceedings soon? It sounds like you don't have all the information yet although it must have been a hard experience. If it took 3 times to make a final decision it sounds it wasn't clear cut and I'd want to know why.


mynameiscalypso Wed 16-Jun-21 13:07:52

I don't think you can; it sounds like it was a difficult diagnosis so would be hard to prove negligence (ie that what they did wasn't reasonable). Cases where people have successfully sued are generally where they have been deliberately lied to or there was a monumental cock up. I'm sorry for what you've been through. Some therapy may help you come to terms with the whole situation which must be very hard, despite the good news.

stackemhigh Wed 16-Jun-21 13:08:53

Did they reasonably need to do those surgeries to determine if you had cancer? Seems very extreme.

I can see why you are angry, this is terrible. flowers

Fitforforty Wed 16-Jun-21 13:09:10

You would have to prove that other doctor’s would have definitely come up with different diagnosis. Do you know why you were misdiagnosed?

PiffleWiffleWoozle Wed 16-Jun-21 13:09:24

YANBU to feel this way.

Suing - need to know if what happened was something a reasonable medic might do in same circumstances, if so unlikely to be able to sue, if not could explore further (not a medic but family member impacted who could have sued but decided not to).

Emotional support for you - counselling, debrief etc sounds needed.

PiffleWiffleWoozle Wed 16-Jun-21 13:09:46

Sorry meant to say not a lawyer

DistrictCommissioner Wed 16-Jun-21 13:10:01

If it took several opinions to decide it wasn’t cancer, I’m not sure you could prove negligence. The case has to be that their actions weren’t reasonable, doesn’t it?

therocinante Wed 16-Jun-21 13:10:14

Firstly, thank goodness it's not, and I hope whatever is wrong is much less serious.

But really - what would you be hoping to get out of suing them? Money? A change in policy or training? To sue the NHS for money would be a bit grim, I feel, and a change in policy or training could hopefully be effected by complaining through PALS and to hospital management.

Hospitals see thousands and thousands of people per year and the people interpreting your results are human - as you said yourself, it clearly isn't a clear cut case, so it's possible that they weren't aware it could be something else. I'm sorry this happened and I can only imagine how terrified you must have been, but human error happens and suing a hospital seems to me to have no real useful effect that a sincere apology and acknowledgement of your distress wouldn't.

MoralityPondering Wed 16-Jun-21 13:11:54

One of the surgeries was emergency surgery because of complications caused by the first one. I had to have a blood transfusion and could have died. The surgery was to remove the cancer. Except I didn't need it removing because it never was cancer.

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OrangeSharked Wed 16-Jun-21 13:12:00

What sort of cancer? What did it turn out to be in the end?

They did an MRI and a biopsy, presumably this gave them enough evidence it was cancer to act. I dont think they've been negligent, can you imagine if they'd done more biopsies and waited to treat a cancer?

I agree a debrief with the team would be a good idea. But ultimately it is a good think it turned out not to be a cancer

OrangeSharked Wed 16-Jun-21 13:13:15

Just because it wasn't a cancer doesn't mean it didn't need removing

Lots of benign lesions have risks of becoming a cancer in the long run and can cause problems even if they are benign, and ultimately still need removal

MoralityPondering Wed 16-Jun-21 13:13:52

As I said in my first post it was a Private hospital not NHS.

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SexTrainGlue Wed 16-Jun-21 13:14:39

I think you need a full debrief about what went on - was it reasonable to have diagnosed cancer on the information they had at the time? What happened that meant they could change the diagnosis?

What I'm getting at is whether the earlier judgements were reasonable (because you had a really unusual presentation of some other condition, but you met the criteria for cancer) or one or more of the clinicians was wrong to have made a diagnosis when they should have been commissioning more tests.

If it was a case of a lump that needed to come out whatever it was and could only be tested once out, it's quite different from failure to provide a biopsy to find out more before planning for surgery.

Oncologists are usually quite cautious about providing firm diagnoses, because they know so well, what an impact it has (though of course waiting in that awful limbo when you know something's wrong, and the possibility of cancer exists, brings its own stresses). So that's why I suggest you get that debrief.

You could do thus by requesting your notes and getting another doctor to review if you do not trust the original team to do a fair job

MoralityPondering Wed 16-Jun-21 13:18:14

I think I need a debrief thank you to those who suggested it. I also will look into counselling. There must be something wrong with me. I know it's good news but I'm not happy about it. Maybe I'm still in shock

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stackemhigh Wed 16-Jun-21 13:18:55

I think people are getting way ahead of themselves here and defending the doctors without knowing the facts.

OP, what they have done is really, really bad.

Could you give a timeline of events and what they did at each stage and why? Only if you want to.

I hope you get advice from professionals here rather than armchair doctors.

ThatWouldBeEnough Wed 16-Jun-21 13:19:50

I think you need to think about the impact the “cancer” treatment has had on you. Have they caused you harm with the surgeries? Have they (for example) given you a mastectomy when you did have breast cancer? Are you going to be affected for the rest of your life now?
I get that it’s been a headfuck being told you have it when you didn’t but that will resolve. I think you should only sue if they have left permanent damage.

stackemhigh Wed 16-Jun-21 13:19:51

OP, please don’t feel guilty that you don’t feel good about this. What they did to you was terrible and needs a proper investigation.

maddening Wed 16-Jun-21 13:24:17

I think I would request a thorough investigation first, you need to know root cause first. If it is something that any other Dr may reasonably have diagnosed as cancer then there is little case, perhaps seek reassurance that they will put preventative measures in place. If it was a negligent mistake then take it forward.

MoralityPondering Wed 16-Jun-21 13:25:17

I was diagnosed with ER/PR positive grade 2 breast cancer after biopsy, mammogram and Contrast MRI. I had a mastectomy with reconstruction and node clearance. After Path report last week it's not cancer. It's a complicated benign mass.

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