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Crucial that NICE Guidelines are Followed Despite Pandemic

As reported by the BBC earlier last month, the case of a 27 year old mother who died of cancer after being told on 2 occasions she probably had coronavirus has highlighted the importance of suspected cancer guidelines being followed despite the global pandemic.

It was reported that Beth Pattison, someone who had previously been diagnosed with breast cancer on two occasions, presented to her GP in March 2020. She unfortunately passed away in June 2020 leaving behind a young family, including a 5 year old son.

She initially underwent treatment in 2016 and 2017 including a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

She presented to her GP in March 2020 with a persistent cough and was advised that her symptoms were most likely due to Covid-19. During a telephone consultation with an oncologist at Newcastle Royal Victoria infirmary in May 2020 she was again told that her persistent cough was probably due to coronavirus.

She was admitted to hospital on 8 June 2020 with suspected pneumonia. Following 3 negative Covid-19 tests investigation found that her cancer had spread to her ovaries and lungs. She sadly passed away on 27 June 2020.

The NICE guidelines have specific guidance for GPs in suspected cancer cases and any delay can prove to be significant. It is crucial that despite the pandemic these guidelines are being followed. A 2-week urgent referral should have been made irrespective of the pandemic.

The NICE guidelines are available online: Although these recommendations are guidance, the failure of a GP to adhere to these would lead to serious criticism and would be considered a breach of a legal duty of care. If this breach of duty either directly causes injury or contributes to an injury it would be possible to pursue a claim for clinical negligence.

If you feel you have suffered injury as a result of substandard medical treatment, contact our team for a free consultation.

Full details of the article discussed above can be found at the following link:

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Medical negligence is an overall term used to describe errors, accidents or sub- standard care by medical staff or hospitals.


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