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Meet The Team

We have many key individuals within the firm, all playing their part in ensuring the things that matter to you work.

John Merry
Senior Partner - Head of Employment Team
William Morse
Partner - Employment & Education
Gemma Workman
Solicitor

Latest News

22 Feb 2024

Oesophageal Cancer Awareness Month: Know the Signs

February is Oesophageal Cancer Awareness Month, which is a crucial time to shine a light on an often-overlooked cancer. This is a topic close to my heart as a close family member has recently been diagnosed with oesophageal cancer and is currently embarking on their own treatment journey.

Not only this, but as a clinical negligence solicitor, I see first-hand the devastating impact delayed diagnosis and misdiagnosis can have on patients and their families. It is important for people to not only become familiar with the signs and symptoms of oesophageal cancer, but also understand their legal rights in case of medical negligence.

What is Oesophageal Cancer?

Oesophageal cancer, affecting the tube connecting the mouth to the stomach, is the eighth most common cancer globally. Despite its prevalence, awareness remains low, which hinders early diagnosis and potentially leading to poorer outcomes. Early detection is critical for improving survival rates, which currently stand at a concerning 16% five-years after diagnosis.

Know the Signs

Being aware of the symptoms of oesophageal cancer can allow you to seek prompt medical attention, potentially improving your chances of a successful diagnosis and treatment. Key signs include:

  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), especially solids.
  • Heartburn and acid reflux that don't respond to medication.
  • Chest pain, often burning or squeezing.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Persistent coughing or hoarseness.

One critical issue when it comes to early diagnosis is that the above symptoms can often have multiple causes, and it is therefore vital to seek the advice of your GP as soon as you suspect something is not normal for you.

Treatment

Oesophageal cancer can be treatable, but it can be difficult to treat and will depend on the size and type of cancer it is; the location (i.e. where in the oesophagus); if it has spread to nearby nodes, tissues and organs; and a person’s general health.

If your surgeon has indicated that your oesophageal cancer is potential curable, treatment usually entails chemotherapy followed by surgery, with additional chemotherapy afterwards. Sometimes instead of pre-surgical chemotherapy you may be offered radiotherapy, and sometimes you could be offered a combination of the two.

If the cancer is sadly not curable, there are targeted medicines and immunotherapy which can aid in symptom control and improve quality of life.

If you or a loved one experiences delayed or missed diagnoses of oesophageal cancer, impacting your health and wellbeing, seeking legal advice is crucial. Clinical negligence claims can help you access:

  • Compensation for pain, suffering, and loss of income.
  • Funding for ongoing medical care and rehabilitation.
  • Accountability against the healthcare providers involved.

Don't Delay, Be Proactive!

  • Educate yourself: Visit the websites of organisations like Cancer Support and Macmillan Cancer Support for comprehensive information.
  • Seek medical advice: Discuss any concerns you have with your doctor, especially if you notice any changes which are not normal for you;
  • Seek legal advice: If you suspect negligence has impacted your oesophageal cancer diagnosis or treatment, please contact Lanyon Bowdler’s specialist team of medical negligence solicitors or by emailing info@lblaw.co.uk

By raising awareness of Oesophageal Cancer Awareness Month and sharing advice and support, we can empower ourselves and our loved ones to fight for better healthcare and hold negligent parties accountable.

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14 Feb 2024

Is My Will Watertight?

The short answer is no. However, there are a range of options available in order to mitigate the risk of family members making a claim against your estate once you have passed away.

If someone tries to make a claim against your estate once you have passed, this would be governed by the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents Act) 1975. A person can only bring a claim against the estate if they are:

  • A spouse or civil partner of the deceased;
  • A former spouse or civil partner of the deceased (that has not remarried);
  • Any person whom for two years immediately prior to the death of the deceased was living with the deceased as if they were a married couple or civil partners;
  • A child of the deceased;
  • Any person (who was not a child of the deceased) but was treated by the deceased as a child of the family;
  • Any person who immediately before the death was being maintained wholly or partially by the deceased.

When considering a claim, the court will have regard to:

  • The financial resources and financial needs which the applicant has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
  • The financial resources and financial needs which any other applicant for an order under S.2 of the Act has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
  • The financial resources and financial needs which any beneficiary of the estate of the deceased has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
  • Any obligations and responsibilities which the deceased had towards any applicant for an order under the said S.2 or towards any beneficiary of the estate of the deceased;
  • The size and nature of the estate of the deceased;
  • Any physical or mental disability of any applicant for an order under the said S.2 or any beneficiary of the estate of the deceased;
  • Any other matter, including the conduct of the applicant or any other person, which in the circumstances of the case the court may consider.

In some cases, it may be appropriate to also include a letter of wishes that will record your wishes in further detail, also explaining why you have made the specific distributions to certain people or organisations. Although this is not mandatory, it will assist in providing further evidence to the court if someone were to contest your will.

There is no guarantee that a claim will not be brought against your estate when you die however a properly drafted will can reduce the grounds on which any potential claimant could make a claim and it is therefore essential that your will is drafted correctly and concisely to reflect your true wishes.

Having a will in place is a fundamental step in ensuring your assets and wealth is distributed how you would like it to be after your death. Without a will, you will run the risk of the intestacy rules dictating how your estate will pass which could result in estranged family members far down the blood-line inheriting all or part of your estate. Please see our previous blog: Intestacy (Dying Without a Will) – What Will My Spouse/Civil Partner Get? for further information about dying intestate.

If you are concerned about a family member making a claim against your estate after you die, please get in touch with Lanyon Bowdler where our dedicated team can give you specific advice regarding your circumstances.

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12 Feb 2024

International Epilepsy Awareness Day

February 12 marks International Epilepsy Awareness Day. This is a day dedicated to raising global awareness about epilepsy aiming to reduce stigma, deepen understanding of the condition and management and promote support for all those effected by or living with epilepsy.

What is epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a neurological condition that can affect all ages but typically starts in childhood or in people over 60. It’s a lifelong condition that can be managed with medication to enable people to live normal lives and keep their seizures under control.

Epilepsy can also be acquired through injury to your brain from causes such as;

• a lack of oxygen during birth
• a severe head injury
• a brain infection
• a stroke
• a brain tumour

Symptoms of epilepsy

Seizures can affect people in different ways, depending on which part of the brain is involved but possible symptoms include:

• “fitting’ – that is where a person has uncontrollable jerking and shaking
• becoming stiff or rigid
• losing awareness or staring blankly into space
• odd feelings and sensations, such as a "rising" feeling in the stomach, unusual smells or tastes, or a feelings of pins and needles in the limbs
• collapsing/losing consciousness.

How to get involved?

Observing International Epilepsy Day helps bring the condition to public awareness and keeps the conversation going, contributing to meaningful discussion and helping destigmatise the condition. This is the opportunity for organisations, affected individuals, families and clinicians to come together in a meaningful way and demonstrate solidarity.

The main ways to participate are:

1. wear purple as it is the official colour observed with epilepsy awareness; and
2. share information about epilepsy, including management of seizures, condition education, signposting of symptoms and support groups will help to raise awareness and spread valuable information. There are a number of UK based support groups and associations related solely with epilepsy that have regular fundraising events to support epilepsy research, patient advocacy and specialist assistance/care programmes.
By observing International Epilepsy Day annually, we strive to keep the conversation going and help to create an inclusive and supportive society for everyone.

Can we help?

Many of our clients have had symptoms of epilepsy or diagnosis which we support them with. If you think you have suffered an injury through medical negligence, which has led to symptoms or a diagnosis of epilepsy, we may be able to assist you with a claim or sign post you to support groups. If you would like more information or wish to speak to someone in confidence, please get in touch via email: info@lblaw.co.uk

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Latest Case Study

01 Feb 2024

Death of Young Mother of Three Could Have Been Avoided

Kate, a 34 year old mother of three, presented to A&E at Wrexham Maelor Hospital with a seven day history of diar...

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30 Nov 2022

Hospital Missed Key Symptoms Leading to Life Changing Injury

Cauda Equina Syndrome

This claim settled by Laura Weir arises from the delay in diagnosis ...

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17 Jun 2022

Misfiled Radiology Report Causes Catastrophic Harm

Mr L originally presented to Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) in 2011 with suspected kidney stones. H...

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