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James Bell: 3 years after initial symptoms, a lady is told she has bowel cancer.

By Principal Lawyer, Clinical Negligence

I have just been instructed by a lovely lady in the East Midlands who has been diagnosed with bowel cancer. She began attending her GP in February 2008 complaining of abdominal pain and rectal bleeding. Over three years later she felt she was anaemic. She was referred by her new GP to her local hospital and was quickly diagnosed with bowel cancer in Spring 2011, over 3 years after her initial symptoms.
Her condition was diagnosed as Diverticulitis in 2008. Diverticulitis is a condition whereby small pouches in the digestive tract wall become inflamed. These pouches are usually about the size of a marble. They're called diverticula. They form when pressure inside the colon forces some of the inner intestinal lining through weak spots in the outer lining. If you're over 60 years old, you probably have diverticula. This is very common and is not a problem unless the diverticula become inflamed (swollen). When the diverticula become inflamed the condition is called diverticulosis.
Diverticulitis /diverticulosis and colon cancer have very similar symptoms. My client did not have a CT scan or a colonoscopy which could have been definitive in diagnosing her. She had a sigmoidoscopy only in 2008 and no further tests.
I do hope that we can obtain justice soon for this lady and her very supportive family.James Bell is a Partner in the Russell Jones & Walker clinical negligence team. If you or a member of your family have a clinical negligence enquiry please call our expert clinical negligence solicitors on 0800 916 9049, fill in our short online claim form or email and one of our specialist clinical negligence team will be in touch.