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Delays in Diagnosis of Cancer Caused by Covid-19

View profile for Aimee Herbert
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If you have read the news lately you will have been inundated with articles about the ongoing pandemic. One especially sad story is that of Beth Pattison, a mum from County Durham, whose cancer was missed as suspected coronavirus.

Beth had recovered from breast cancer twice, so when she went to her GP with a persistent cough in March 2020 further investigations would be expected. Instead, she was told that she most likely was suffering from coronavirus. Two months later, when her cough had not gone, she saw an oncologist who again told her that this was due to coronavirus.

When Beth was admitted to hospital with pneumonia on 08 June 2020. She was tested for covid-19 and her tests came back negative. Despite this, it took a further week for doctors to investigate her symptoms and confirm that she was suffering from cancer which had spread to her ovaries and lungs.

This failure to investigate Beth’s cough in a timely manner, resulted in months of delay affecting her chances of survival, and Beth sadly died on 27 June 2020, leaving a 5-year-old son.

In the UK, around 367,000 people are diagnosed with cancer every year. Despite this, since going into national lockdown in March 2020, cancer screening has been suspended and only urgent symptomatic cases prioritised for intervention.

Recent studies conducted by The Lancet confirm that there are expected to be substantial increases in the number of avoidable cancer deaths in the future because of diagnostic delays due to the covid-19 pandemic.

Cancer is likely to touch the lives of every person in the UK in some way. If you, or someone you love, fears they have been the victim of a delayed cancer diagnosis, please contact our specialist clinical negligence solicitors on 0121 355 0011 for a free no-obligation consultation.

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