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GP Fails to Refer for Colonoscopy

GP Fails to Refer for Colonoscopy

If your GP failed to refer you for a colonoscopy, even though you were displaying the characteristic symptoms of bowel cancer, you could be entitled to pursue a claim for compensation.

Diagnosing bowel cancer

A bowel cancer diagnosis usually begins at the GP surgery. In a typical case, a patient will notice a range of symptoms and seek advice from their GP. These symptoms include a change in bowel habits (such as increased frequency), blood in the stool, and a bloated and painful abdomen. There may also be fatigue, unexplained weight loss and a loss of appetite.

A GP should recognise these symptoms as being indicative of bowel cancer. Suspicions should be especially raised if a patient has a family history of bowel cancer. The presentation of these symptoms does not mean that cancer is a forgone conclusion, but investigations should be carried out to confirm or exclude the possible diagnosis.

As with all types of cancer, it is much better if bowel cancer is diagnosed in the early stages. This will ensure treatment can be provided in the early stages, giving a patient the best chance of making a full recovery. Therefore a GP should not hesitate to refer a patient with suspected bowel cancer for further investigation. This will normally begin with a colonoscopy to be performed in hospital.

Failure to refer for colonoscopy

However, there are occasions when a GP fails to refer a patient for a colonoscopy, even though he/she is displaying the characteristic symptoms of bowel cancer.

There are also times when a patient continues to suffer the same symptoms after a negative colonoscopy, but a GP fails to re-refer him/her for another test. Indeed, it can happen that the tumour is not visible in the early stages, and so a patient is given the all-clear. Nevertheless, a GP should be aware that a small tumour may not show on the colonoscopy result. If a patient remains symptomatic, it may mean that a tumour is in fact present and is growing in size. A patient should then be re-referred for another colonoscopy to ensure a correct diagnosis has been obtained.

Claiming for a failure to refer for a colonoscopy

If a GP fails to refer a patient for a colonoscopy, there may be grounds for a medical negligence claim. This is because the GP will have provided a substandard level of care in failing to refer a patient with the typical symptoms of bowel cancer. This delay in diagnosis will undoubtedly cause prolonged pain and suffering, and may also impact upon a patient's prognosis. These injuries could have been avoided, had the GP acted in a reasonable manner.

To claim compensation for a delayed diagnosis of bowel cancer, please contact us today.

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