I went to see a new client this week. Nothing new there but in 30 years I have rarely left a meeting feeling more angry and upset.
Eventually she developed severe pain and was finally referred to her local hospital. She was told that she had probably had kidney stones which had she had passed as there was nothing to see. She was sent home only to be back in hospital a week or so later with symptoms that were far worse. She had been bleeding consistently throughout this time. This time she underwent full tests including biopsies and was found to have a primary tumour of the cervix and secondary tumours in her bladder and lymph nodes. She was told that it was too late for any effective surgery but could have made a full recovery if she had been treated months earlier. She now has just a matter of weeks to live and will leave behind a husband and young children.
Her life has been ruined by an illness that could have been treated but for a series of blunders by the different doctors who saw her. I had to tell her that her case was very likely to win. But this is, of course, meaningless. She will never see the result. Her young family would rather have their mother than a good case. That was why I felt so angry.
Don’t tell me that this victim is part of any compensation culture.
Don’t tell me that her and her family should not take action because it might be a drain on the health budget.
Don’t tell me they don’t merit the full support of the state in pursuing this case with state funds – after April that right will be removed from her family.
Don’t tell me that this all about lawyers wanting to protect their own interests.
They are victims, full stop. They are not alone. Actions taken by politicians to make it more difficult for them to obtain justice are shameful.