How does the Statute of Limitations for hospital medical negligence affect my right to claim compensation for a delayed diagnosis of prostate cancer?
The way in which the Statute of Limitations for hospital medical negligence is applied in delayed diagnosis compensation claims is that the two-year period that you have to make your claim starts from the date on which you were diagnosed with an “adverse effect” due to the negligence of a hospital doctor.
What this means is that you have two years from the ‘Date of Knowledge’ that an avoidable injury or the deterioration of an existing condition was identified – not two years from the date on which you first presented symptoms of an illness or injury to a doctor, and on which the condition should have been diagnosed.
For example: If you were to visit the hospital doctor in May presenting early symptoms of prostate cancer – but the doctor prescribed antibiotics for a urinary tract infection – and you returned in November, when the doctor correctly identified your condition and referred you for tests, the two-year Statute of Limitations for hospital medical negligence would commence in November.
However, in order to claim compensation for a delayed diagnosis of prostate cancer, it would have to be demonstrated that a competent doctor ‘at the time and in the circumstances’ would have correctly identified the symptoms of prostate cancer and referred you for further tests.
Furthermore, delayed diagnosis compensation claims also have to show that your condition had deteriorated because of the doctor´s negligence – something which is not always straightforward with a slow-developing condition such as prostate cancer – and consequently the subsequent treatment you received was longer, more painful and had a greater impact on the deterioration in your quality of life or – indeed – life expectancy.
The most appropriate course of action for you to take now would be to speak directly with an experienced medical negligence solicitor to explain the circumstances surrounding your delayed diagnosis. The solicitor will want to know when you first visited the doctor, what diagnosis he or she made at the time and how much later it was that you returned to the doctor and the symptoms were correctly identified – or at least you were referred for further tests.
Your medical background and subsequent prognosis will also help the solicitor establish whether you have delayed diagnosis compensation claims worth your while to pursue. Also, importantly in the context of the Statute of Limitations for hospital medical negligence, the solicitor will want to know how long ago it was that you were diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Because of the potentially complex nature of a claim for compensation for a delayed diagnosis, and the risk that your claim may be time-barred by the Statute of Limitations for hospital medical negligence if you delayed seeking legal advice, it is recommended that you speak directly with an experienced medical negligence solicitor as soon as possible.