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What is Leukaemia?

Leukaemia is a cancer which affects the blood cells, usually the white blood cells that help fight infection.

In Leukaemia patients, the white blood cells do not work in the same way and abnormal cells are produced. The body is therefore not able to fight off infection in the same manner. There are two main kinds:

Acute Leukaemia – This develops rapidly and needs an instant diagnosis followed by speedy treatment. The main subtypes are:

  • Acute Lymphocytic Leukaemia – This appears mostly in children but can be in adults.
  • Acute Myelogenous Leukaemia – Occurs in children and adults.

Chronic Leukaemia – This develops gradually and can go unobserved for years.

  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia – Common in adults.
  • Chronic Myelogenous Leukaemia – Affects mainly adults.

Around 8,000 people each year are diagnosed with leukaemia, and is usually diagnosed in people between 65-74. Death rates are higher in the elderly. It is more common in men than in women.




It is still not known what causes blood cancer. There are factors that can affect the cause of cancer:

  • Genetics – If a family member has already had leukaemia.
  • Genetic disorders – Such as Down Syndrome.
  • Radiation of chemical exposure – Formaldehyde, benzene.
  • Previous health conditions – Chemotherapy and radiation.
  • Smoking.


These can include the following

  • Fever.
  • Tiny red spots on the skin.
  • Tiredness.
  • Nosebleeds.
  • Swollen lymph nodes.
  • Bleeding and bruising.
  • Loss of weight.
  • Sweating excessively.




The first step is to speak to your GP and ask them to clarify a diagnosis. They will carry out the following tests to confirm that diagnosis:

  • Examination – The GP will look at the skin, check out the lymph nodes and see if there are enlargements of the liver or spleen.
  • Blood Test – This will look at the number of blood cells and check on any abnormalities.
  • Bone Marrow Test – A small sample is taken from the bone marrow and tested for leukaemia cells. There can be risks of having this procedure such as bruising, infection and pain.


Treatment will depend on each patient, their age and the kind of leukaemia. There are a variety of different treatments that can help in the recovery of leukaemia, including:

  • Chemotherapy – Drug treatment which uses chemicals to kill the cancer cells.
  • Radiation Therapy – Uses X-Rays to damage the cells and prevent further growth.
  • Biological Therapy – Treatments to assist the immune system to distinguish between the normal and cancerous cells.
  • Targeted Therapy – Drugs that attack the features of the cancer cells and it slows or kills the cancer.
  • Stem cell Transplant – Replaced unhealthy bone marrow with healthy bone marrow.
  • Palliative Care – If the cancer has progressed then palliative care might be the only option.



Side Effects Of Treatment

Each treatment may have side effects which could last the length of the treatment, or could continue after the treatment has ended. These include:

  • Hair Loss.
  • Infections.
  • Mouth Ulcers.
  • Constipation or Diarrhoea.
  • Tiredness.
  • Nausea and Vomiting.

The long terms issues can include problems with the thyroid, heart or lung. It can also cause issues with fertility.

How Do I Make A Claim?

If you feel that your diagnosis has been delayed or that your treatment has been inappropriate, you may be entitled to bring about a claim. The team at Oakwood Solicitors will be able to give you free advice on the prospects of your case and whether you would be eligible to make a claim.

Who Can Bring About A Claim?

The victim of the negligence can bring about a claim in their own right. However, it is often the case that the victim is either unable to bring about a claim or has sadly passed away.

In such circumstances, a claim can be brought about on their behalf – either by an appropriate person or friend if the victim is still with us, or by the executor of the estate of the surviving dependent if the victim is no longer with us.

Our specialist team will be able to discuss whether you have a right to bring about a claim, so if you or a loved one has been affected – do not hesitate to contact us.

How Long Do I Have To Claim?

Claims of this nature are subject to a three year limitation period. This means that claims have to be commenced within the Courts in three years of either the date the negligent act occurred, or the date you became aware that negligence had occurred. In cases involving deceased victims, this limitation period commences from the date of death – and in cases involving minors, the limitation period starts when they reach their 18th Birthday.

The law surrounding limitation periods is complex. Our specialist team will be able to advise further.

How Long Will My Case Take To Run?

Given the complexities involved in pursuing Clinical Negligence claims, they can often take 18-24 months to conclude and longer if Court proceedings have to be issued. Our investigations start by obtaining all relevant records and protocols before approaching independent medical experts for their opinion.

We will provide you with regular updates on the progress of your case to ensure that you are kept up to speed.

How Much Is My Claim Worth?

It is often difficult to value Clinical Negligence claims at their outset, given the complexities involved. However, we will pursue two forms of compensation for you:

  • General damages – An award of money for the pain and suffering you have endured as a result of the negligence.
  • Special damages – An award of money for all of your out-of-pocket expenses, such as travel, medication costs, loss of earnings, and treatment costs both past and future. This list is not exhaustive and is very case specific.

Oakwood Solicitors Ltd


Why Use Oakwood Solicitors To Make Your Clinical Negligence Case?

We have a dedicated team of solicitors and paralegals who have many years’ experience between them in running cases of this nature. They are highly trained to deal with all aspects of clinical negligence.

We want to ensure that clients are not overwhelmed by legal jargon, medical terms that they don’t understand and aim to allow the claims procedure to be as transparent as possible.

How is My Case Funded?

The majority of Clinical Negligence cases are funded by a Conditional Fee Agreement, more commonly known as a ‘no-win, no-fee’ agreement. This means that there will be nothing to pay up front and nothing to pay if the claim has been lost. If you are successful in your claim, a deduction of 25% of damages will be taken to cover the success fee and the shortfall in legal fees.

It may also be the case that an After The Event (ATE) insurance policy will be obtained to cover the costs of expensive medical reports and investigations.

If an ATE insurance policy has to be obtained, the cost of the same will be discussed with you at the appropriate point. The cost of the ATE insurance policy is again taken from your damages and only payable if you are successful with your claim.

Charities/Useful Websites



Leukaemia Care

Leukaemia UK


If you have been affected by misdiagnosis or late diagnosis of cervical cancer, get in touch today for a free initial consultation. Choose one of the methods on the right-hand side of this page, or call us on 0113 200 9787 to find out how we can help you.

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Carol Cook

Head of Department - Medical Negligence

0113 200 9780

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