​ Brain tumours: delay in diagnosis

April 13, 2017

In our last article we provided a brief insight into the symptoms which may be present if you are suffering from a brain tumour, together with some guidance as to how a brain tumour should be diagnosed and treated, but what happens if the tumour is missed or there is a delay in diagnosis?

In a newspaper report in January this year, it was reported that a woman from Liverpool began to show signs of a brain tumour in her early teens but that tumour was not diagnosed until some 17 years later, when she was 38 years old.  By then she had led a very difficult life.  The symptoms she had been suffering with, which by the later stages included seizures and hallucinations, led Drs to diagnose a variety of other conditions over the years, including depression and bipolar disorder.  As her condition deteriorated further tests were undertaken and she was finally diagnosed with the tumour, which was then removed by surgery.  Whilst the surgery was successful she was sadly left with neurological problems and was unable to go back to work.

Whilst the delay in this case is extreme, there are unfortunately still many legal cases relating to the delay in diagnosis or missed diagnosis of a brain tumour.

A delay or missed diagnosis can result in serious life-changing disability or in some cases, death, which could otherwise have been avoided.  This is particularly evident in the case of child brain tumours.

A leading insurer for the medical profession reports that between January 2010 and 2015 they were notified of 40 cases where there was a delay in diagnosis of child brain tumours; 70% of those cases involved a GP’s failure to spot the signs of the tumour.

The medical negligence team here at Metcalfes specialise in acting for people who have suffered as a result of the delay in diagnosis of a brain tumour, we have brain injury specialists who help get our clients the care and rehabilitation a long term brain injury requires.  We also have solicitors who help families find the answers they need after they lose a loved family member under such tragic circumstances. 

Most recently we represented the mother of Ayaan Hussain who sadly passed away at aged just 23 months old as a result of a brain tumour that was not diagnosed.  We represented the family at inquest where the Coroner stated that the failure to properly investigate the symptoms of his illness was a “missed opportunity” and that this was a failure on behalf of the hospital who were treating him.  A claim for compensation is now being pursued but no amount of money can compensate for that loss.  The key issue is that there needs to be greater training in how to pick up and diagnose the symptoms of a brain tumour to ensure earlier diagnosis and allow for the opportunity of treatment.

We deal with all areas of medical negligence. If you think that you or a loved one has suffered as a result of medical negligence, we may be able to help.

Please contact us on 0117 239 8012.  Alternatively, you can email us by using our online contact form and we will be happy to discuss your potential claim with you.

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Website content note: This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

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​  Brain tumours: delay in diagnosis

Gillian Clark

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