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Diagnosis errors or delays

At Hay & Kilner, we have one of the leading Clinical Negligence teams in the North East & Cumbria, dedicated to helping victims of misdiagnosis or delays in diagnosis.

Timely diagnosis of a medical condition followed by appropriate treatment is vital. Unfortunately, misdiagnosis or late diagnosis by healthcare professionals does occur and it represents the basis of a considerable number of clinical negligence claims. Failures to diagnose often arise where the severity of the condition has not been appreciated and the patient is subsequently deprived of appropriate treatment. Common examples are failures to diagnose conditions such as cancer, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and fractures.

Here are some examples of our settled and current claims for diagnosis error or delays:

Delay in establishing the development of severe pelvic sepsis

We obtained compensation of £48,000 for a client on whose behalf it was argued that there was a lengthy delay in establishing the development of severe pelvic sepsis. The delay in treatment led to major septic complications and necessitated multiple subsequent operations.

Delay in diagnosing colon cancer

We recently settled a claim for £40,000 on behalf of the Estate of our client’s late wife. It was argued that a Radiologist mis-reported a barium enema which clearly demonstrated cancer of the colon. In fact, it was not until 8 months later that colon cancer was diagnosed. It was our client’s case that had the colon cancer been diagnosed at the appropriate time, Chemotherapy would have been immediately commenced. Although this would not have prevented the spread of cancer our client’s late wife could have avoided eight months of additional and unnecessary pain and suffering. She also underwent unnecessary major bowel surgery, resulting in the requirement of a colostomy bag.

Failure to identify a hip fracture

We are investigating a claim in respect of treatment provided to our client, who suffered hip and thigh pain following a charity run. An x-ray undertaken at her GP surgery, which revealed a fracture, was misreported as showing no bony injury. The pain in her hip and thigh continued and, following further investigations, the fracture was identified but due to the delay in diagnosis had become displaced. Our client required remedial surgery, which could have been avoided. She continues to suffer from ongoing pain and discomfort.

Failure to diagnose a severe knee injury

Hay & Kilner are investigating a claim in which it is alleged that the Defendant Hospital Trust failed to make a diagnosis of a severe injury to the patella, (knee cap) following a fall at home. An X-ray was undertaken and our client was incorrectly advised that he had suffered a soft tissue injury and that the pain and swelling would heal with time. However, the symptoms persisted and following a referral to a specialist, a scan revealed that our client had in fact suffered disruption of the patella tendon and required immediate reconstructive surgery. Our client was advised that a scan should have been undertaken at the time of the first hospital attendance which would have revealed the injury and enabled prompt treatment.

Failure to diagnose a fracture of the jaw

Hay & Kilner are currently investigating a claim in which a police officer received a misdiagnosis after being assaulted on duty. He suffered injuries to his jaw and a finger. It is alleged that there was a failure by Accident and Emergency staff to diagnose a fracture of the jaw. As a result of the delay in diagnosis, corrective surgery is unlikely to be successful and therefore his ongoing symptoms will be permanent.


For further information, please contact Clare Thompson

Call: 0192 232 8345

Email: clare.thompson@hay-kilner.co.uk


  • "The Clinical Negligence Team at Hay & Kilner was recommended to me because of their excellent reputation handling claims. In light of my own experience with the team, I can confirm how well deserved that reputation is."

    - Client of our Clinical Negligence Team

  • "Lauren Hall & Helen Morland handled every aspect of my claim with care, thoughtfulness and great efficiency. They were able to allay any concerns I had by clearly explaining the processes involved. Helen secured a settlement for me which surpassed my hopes and I cannot thank her and Lauren enough."

    - Client of our Clinical Negligence Team

  • "Hay & Kilner has an excellent grasp of clinical negligence law and an excellent manner with clients."

    - The Legal 500

  • "It's unquestionably one of the major players in the region."

    - Chambers & Partners