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Irritable bowel syndrome misdiagnosis &
delay in IBS diagnosis claims

Irritable bowel syndrome misdiagnosis & delay in IBS diagnosis claims

How much can you claim?

An IBS sufferer was left without a diagnosis for 8 years, despite numerous visits to his GP with no referral. His symptoms could have been controlled with the correct medication. He was awarded:


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Claiming for IBS misdiagnosis

Medical negligence whilst uncommon can have a big impact on your life and wellbeing.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common condition in the UK that can be debilitating and cause a lot of stress for those suffering. It is usually a diagnosis by exclusion – so that when all other conditions are ruled out this is the diagnosis that is made.  There are also two types of IBS, IBS D and IBS C.  This frequent  medical problem can often be diagnosed when the patient has a more sinister condition such as inflammatory bowel disease, including ulcerative colitis, crohns or microscopic colitis, or even bowel cancer, and those suffering with IBS can often face misdiagnosis or delays in receiving the care and treatment they need, prolonging the pain and challenges of living with bowel conditions.

Those patients that have been affected by IBS, inflammatory bowel disease or bowel cancer misdiagnosis may be able to seek compensation and support through  the legal system.. Medical compensation claims offer those affected a chance to hold those responsible to account, and answers. With the support of the Your Legal Friend team we can investigate your case, and  put a value on your claim, reflecting the undue suffering that medical negligence has caused. We understand that taking legal action can seem like a daunting process but with our help, it can be simple and straight forward..

Our team are experienced specialist  solicitors who pride themselves on working on behalf of those affected by medical negligence. We take the time to listen to your experiences to build a case that accurately demonstrates how those responsible for your care let you down. We’ll work on your behalf from the very beginning of the legal process through to the conclusion, including representing you in court if necessary, to secure you the best outcome possible in your  case. When you instruct Your Legal Friend, you know you can rely on us to act in your best interests.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

The time limit on making an IBS claim

All medical claims are subject to a time limit. From the ‘date of knowledge’ you have three years to take action and make a claim.

The term ‘date of knowledge’ can be confusing to understand and know exactly how long you have. The phrase simply means the date when you first realised there had been mistakes made with your care and that you have suffered an injury as a result. This is usually the date on which your IBS diagnosis was made. In complex cases this can be after many misdiagnoses and appointments. If you’re unsure exactly how long you have to hold those responsible for your suffering to account, a Your Legal Friend can help you. Using our experience of bringing  IBS claims, we’ll be able to advise you if you are in time.

If you do not claim within the set time period, your claim will be considered ‘statute barred’ or ‘out of time’ and will unfortunately not be taken further. There are two exceptions to this rule, in the case of children and if the negligence directly led to a fatality. In these cases suing the NHS for negligence is still possible as the date on which time begins to run is the date of the child’s 18th birthday, and in the case of fatalities, from the date of death.

While you do have up to three years to take action, we advise our clients do so as close to the ‘date of knowledge’ as possible. This can make it easier to build a strong case in your favour. Documents, such as medical records, are typically easier to obtain when they are requested closer to the experience. We’ll also ask you to give a witness statement, giving as much detail as possible. Taking this step sooner helps to ensure you can recall the finer points that can support your case and ensure the best outcome for IBS misdiagnosis claim.

Throughout your claim, Your Legal Friend will help you every step of the way

  • Specialist team of medical negligence solicitors
  • A wealth of knowledge and expertise
  • Advice, support and guidance throughout your claim
  • No win, no fee – guaranteed
I am very happy and satisfied with the settlement you achieved for me and the service was excellent and thank you very much

Mrs E. Swaffield

Our IBS claims experience

Our medical negligence team has years of experience working on a wide variety of misdiagnosis cases so we understand just how difficult a decision it can be to bring an IBS misdiagnosis case.

That’s why we are committed to guiding you through every step of the process. We ensure that your claim is handled carefully and professionally by our specialist solicitors, while working alongside medical experts, to guarantee the best results for you.

Our medical misdiagnosis team is headed by Laura Morgan who has a wealth of experience in leading complicated, high value IBS cases.

Laura is recognised within the legal profession as a leader in the field of medical negligence and serious injury compensation. Laura has acted in a wide range of cases over her 17 years of practice and has particular expertise in acting for children who have suffered brain injury due to mismanaged birth or surgical errors, and in managing claims that have resulted in the death of a loved one. Laura has achieved a number of large settlements including £5.4 million for a 7 year old and £4 million for an 11 year old child.

Laura’s expertise and dedication to her clients is recognised in the Chambers guide to the Legal Profession in which she was praised for the efficiency of her approach to case handling and described as “tenacious and detail-oriented”.

Laura has been a member of the Law Society Clinical Negligence Panel since 2005 and accredited as a Senior Litigator in the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) since 2006. Laura is also a member of the specialist lawyers panel for Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA), the UK’s leading charity committed to patient safety and justice.

The effects of medical negligence can be devastating for the individual and their families, so securing appropriate compensation for them as quickly as possible is our top priority.

Laura Morgan
Director of Medical Negligence

*Our No Win, No Fee agreement

Pay nothing if you lose your case, get maximum compensation if you win

Whatever the nature of your medical negligence claim, we always seek the maximum level of compensation for our clients – and if your case is unsuccessful, we don’t charge you any fees. This is our guarantee for all standard misdiagnosis claims.

With our no win, no fee guarantee, you pay nothing, unless you win your compensation claim. At that point you will only pay your insurance premium, if applicable, and the success fee, which will never be more than 25% of the amount you win.

No Win, No Fee Solicitors

Start your claim in 10 minutes

For a FREE, confidential, no-obligation assessment of your claim, simply complete this short form. We aim to call you back within 10 minutes.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

The IBS claims process

Step 1 - Obtaining your medical records

We ask you to sign forms of authority so that we can obtain your medical records from your GP and any hospitals that have treated you.

Step 2 - Providing your statement of what happened

As the medical experts we instruct need to know what happened during your treatment, we work with you to draft a detailed, accurate statement in your own words.

Step 3 - Minimising your loss

You are responsible for minimising the losses you have incurred as a result of the alleged medical negligence, so you need to attend any available treatments that could aid your recovery.  You may also need to return to work as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Step 4 - Establishing that a breach of duty occurred

You must prove that the treatment you received fell below the standard expected of a reasonably competent and skilful medical specialist of the type who treated you and that, as a result, you suffered a loss or injury.  To do this, we obtain independent medical evidence from an expert in the appropriate area of medicine.

Step 5 - Establishing the effect of the breach of duty

We have to establish whether the sub-standard treatment you received is likely to have led to your injury or loss. As this can be difficult to establish, you may need to see one or more medical experts who will assess your current condition and what the future holds for you.

Step 6 - Calculating the value of your claim

The value of your claim comprises:

  • general damages for the pain, suffering and impact of the negligence on your daily life both now and in the future
  • actual financial losses such as loss of earnings, cost of care, medical and travel expenses.

Step 7 - Proving your loss

You need to keep all original financial documents safe as these will be needed when we prepare your case to go to Court. These documents include accounts, payslips, and receipts for expenses and medical treatments.

Step 8 - Preparing your case for Court

Although only a small number of cases proceed to a trial, we prepare every case for this eventuality.

Step 9 - Attending the trial in Court

The trial takes place before a Circuit or High Court judge who will make a decision based on the evidence we have prepared.

Step 10 - Awarding your compensation claim

If you win your case, the amount of compensation will be decided by negotiation with the defendant or, if your case goes to trial, by the judge. The defendant will usually be ordered to pay us the costs we have incurred in preparing your case. We will also agree a date by which your compensation will be paid to us so that we can pay your compensation as quickly as possible.

Frequently asked questions

Can I claim for IBS misdiagnosis?

If you’ve experienced irritable bowel syndrome misdiagnosis you may be able make a compensation claim. To be successful you must be able to prove that your misdiagnosed irritable bowel syndrome was the result of medical negligence and caused you undue suffering.

Misdiagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome can cause those suffering a severe amount of pain as they’re not taking the necessary medication or steps to improve the condition. Those that are affected by IBS should be able to rely on those responsible for their care to take all the necessary steps and where this hasn’t happened a misdiagnosed irritable bowel syndrome lawsuit can help reflect how you’ve been let down.

There are lots of different ways that you can demonstrate medical negligence to support your irritable bowel syndrome malpractice case, such as:

  • Your GP failing to act on your symptoms
  • Failing to rule out other potential conditions through tests
  • Lack of investigating for other symptoms associated with IBS

Can I claim if I was wrongly diagnosed with IBS?

In some cases, patients have been diagnosed with IBS when another underlying condition is to blame. You may be able to make a compensation case if this has happened to you, particularly if the delay in diagnosis and treatment has meant the condition has worsened. If you’re unsure if you have a misdiagnosis case, our expert team are on hand to listen to your questions and offer you advice.

How much compensation will I get?

Misdiagnosis compensation claims are all different and this is reflected in the amount of compensation awarded. Without fully understanding your experiences and how the misdiagnosis has affected you, we can’t say how much compensation your case could be worth. But our team of expert lawyers are on hand to place a value on your claim.

All medical negligence compensation claims take a range of factors into account, from the extent of your injury and suffering to  additional care, travel expenses and lost earnings. When you instruct  us, we’ll take the time to listen to you, allowing us to give your case a value that reflects your experience.

While we can’t say how much misdiagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome compensation you could receive, the NHS does pay out millions every year to those affected by medical negligence, including those who were misdiagnosed. If you have claim that you would like to investigate, we can offer you the help and support you need.

What is IBS?

IBS is a common, long-term condition that affects the digestive system. It typically first appears in people between the age of 20 and 30 and affects more women than men. The symptoms of IBS can vary hugely between sufferers, which can mean it’s difficult to diagnose and has led to misdiagnosed irritable bowel syndrome stories. 

Often the condition is lifelong but many of those diagnosed find that that symptoms improve over several years as they learn to live with it. It’s is thought that up to 20% of people are affected by IBS at some point in their lives.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

What causes IBS?

The exact causes of IBS are unknown but it has been linked to problems related to the digestion and increased sensitivity in the gut. Diet, infections, and inflammation have also been suggested to cause IBS. There has also been evidence to suggest that IBS is related to psychological factors, stress and anxiety in particular.

Many people that have been diagnosed with IBS find that certain food and drinks can trigger their symptoms. While these vary between sufferers, common triggers include:

  • Alcohol
  • Fizzy drinks
  • Chocolate
  • Caffeinated drinks
  • Processed snacks
  • Fatty or fried foods

Can IBS be caused by medical treatment?

Occasionally, IBS has been linked to medical treatment, including due to the results of surgical error, side effects of certain prescriptions, or negligent treatment during a colonoscopy.

It can be difficult to prove if negligent treatment has caused or triggered IBS but where it has occurred it may be possible to make a compensation claim.

What are the symptoms of IBS?

There are common symptoms that are associated with IBS but these vary widely from person to person. Typically, IBS sufferers have a flare-up of symptoms that last a few days before easing, although they may not disappear entirely, and commonly they worsen after eating.

The most common IBS symptoms are:

  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • A change in your bowel habits
  • Bloating and swelling of your stomach
  • Excessive wind
  • Occasionally experiencing an urgent need to go to the toilet
  • A feeling that you have not fully emptied your bowels after going to the toilet

There are also other problems that are often associated with IBS, including:

  • A lack of energy
  • Feeling sick
  • Backache
  • Bladder problems
  • Pain during sex
  • Incontinence

The symptoms and signs of IBS can often mimic those of other conditions and as a result missed irritable bowel syndrome diagnosis can occur. You should be able to rely on those responsible to take all the steps necessary to achieve an accurate diagnosis and where this hasn’t happened you may be able to make a failure to diagnose claim.

How is IBS diagnosed?

IBS doesn’t cause any obvious detectable abnormalities in the digestive system. For this reason, there aren’t any specific tests that your doctor can order to achieve a diagnosis.

Instead, you GP will assess your symptoms and how long you have experienced them for. If your doctor suspects you may have IBS, they will order tests to rule out other potential conditions, such as celiac disease or an infection. If your symptoms indicate that a more serious condition could be causing the signs, such as cancer, further testing will also be undertaken.

The common symptoms and the fact that there is no definitive test means that it can be easy for undiagnosed irritable bowel syndrome to occur. An accurate diagnosis relies on a GP taking all the necessary steps and recognising the symptoms of the condition in order to avoid a wrong diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

How is IBS treated?

IBS cannot be cured. Often the symptoms of IBS can be managed with changes to lifestyle and diet but medication and psychological treatments may also be used. Due to the varied symptoms, each patient will need a different treatment plan that is tailored to their needs.

The NHS lists several different treatment options for those that have been diagnosed with IBS.

  • Diet

Those that have been diagnosed with IBS are often advised to keep a food diary. This is because each person will have different triggers and writing down intake and symptoms can help identify which foods may be need to be avoided. However, it’s possible for triggers to change over time.

  • Fibre

Many of those diagnosed with IBS are recommended to change the amount of fibre in their diet. Your GP should advise on fibre intake, including how your intake should be made up of soluble fibre and insoluble fibre.

  • Low FODMAP diet

A low FODMAP diet restricts the intake of various foods that start to ferment in the gut relatively quickly, potentially leading to bloating and other symptoms of IBS. A low FODMAP diet can restrict some fruits, vegetable, wheat products, and beans.

  • Exercise

Adding exercise to daily routines can help relieve the symptoms of IBS. The NHS recommends that that moderate intensity aerobic activity be should undertaken for a minimum of 150 minutes each week.

  • Reducing stress

Stress has been linked to IBS and as a result, reducing the levels of stress can help relieve the symptoms. Reducing stress can range for undertaking exercise to attending counselling.

  • Medication

Your doctor may also prescribe medication that can help manage the symptoms of IBS. These could include antispasmodics to reduce abdominal pain, laxatives to relive constipation, antimotility to relieve diarrhoea, and low-dose antidepressants to reduce cramping.

  • Psychological treatments

If lifestyle and diet changes or medication hasn’t relieved the symptoms of IBS, a doctor may recommend psychotherapy treatments that aim to better control the condition. Treatments that may be offered include psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, and hypnotherapy.

How can irritable bowel syndrome be misdiagnosed?

There is no definitive test that can be conducted for IBS. This means that cases of misdiagnosis or irritable bowel syndrome do occur.

Due to the lack of a conclusive test, an IBS diagnosis relies on your doctor effectively ruling out other potential causes and monitoring your symptoms. Where this hasn’t occurred or your symptoms have been dismissed a wrong irritable bowel syndrome diagnosis can happen.

Failure to diagnose irritable bowel syndrome isn’t life threatening but that doesn’t mean that those responsible for the medical negligence can’t be held to account. A delay in irritable bowel syndrome diagnosis can cause pain to those suffering with the undiagnosed suffering and severely affect their daily lives and routine without any treatment to control the symptoms.

It’s also possible for irritable bowel syndrome misdiagnosis cases to happen when IBS has been blamed for other underlying conditions. In some cases, these other conditions may be more serious and require urgent medical treatment but an inaccurate diagnosis means this isn’t delivered. If you’ve been misdiagnosed with IBS when another condition was to blame for your symptoms, you may also be able to make a delay in diagnosis compensation claim.

What conditions can IBS be misdiagnosed as?

The symptoms of IBS are similar to many other medical conditions, which can lead to a GP misdiagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome occurring more likely. In most cases, a misdiagnosis can be corrected through tests being ordered to achieve an accurate diagnosis. But there are cases of doctor misdiagnosed irritable bowel syndrome and the condition wrongly being linked to other medical reasons.

Late irritable bowel syndrome diagnosis may happen if your symptoms mimic another condition, including:

  • Celiac disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Thyroid disease
  • Diverticulitis
  • Endometriosis
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Gastrointestinal infections

How often is IBS misdiagnosed?

There aren’t any official irritable bowel syndrome misdiagnosis statistics to measure the scope of the problem. But according to some experts millions of sufferers could by misdiagnosed by their GP.

What are the statistics on IBS?

IBS is a common condition in the UK, with around one in five people affected at some point in their life. It most commonly first occurs between the ages of 20 and 30 and affects twice as many women.

Among those diagnosed with IBS around 40% are considered to have only mild symptoms of the condition, while 25% experience severe IBS.