LawTalk Blog

A false positive on medical tests – what might it mean?

SA Health prostate cancer tests 2016

Being told you have cancer is a traumatic experience. I am quite sure it would rock a person to the core and change one’s perspective of life; but does an incorrect diagnosis or false positive test for cancer amount to it medical negligence? Whether or not it is medical negligence will depend on the circumstances of your particular case.

"The news we received over the weekend in relation to SA Health and the men who were affected by the false positive results for prostate cancer was shocking."


Unfortunately, to some degree false positives are a risk in medical testing. The news we received over the weekend in relation to SA Health and the men who were affected by the false positive results for prostate cancer was shocking. No doubt the men and their families were traumatised.

Medical negligence is a type of personal injury law. Personal injury can be caused by negligence. Negligence has a particular legal definition and certain legal criteria that need to be met. If you think the medical treatment you have received is negligent, you’ll need to speak to a lawyer about this. It’s very important to make sure the lawyer is an experienced medical negligence lawyer.

The next question is “Was there injury, damage, or loss as a result of the alleged negligence?” These terms also need to meet certain legal criteria; again you would need to speak with an experienced medical negligence lawyer.

Sometimes if there are several people who have been affected, any case that may be possible to pursue may be run as what is known as a class action (or also referred to a “representative proceedings”).

Basically in the Federal Court of Australia representative proceedings are where a representative (the representative party) of a group of 7 or more people commences a claim for the group. The proceedings will need to arise out of the “same, similar or related circumstances” that give “rise to a substantial common issue of fact or law”.

The process in South Australia can be a little more complicated but the basic principles are the same. Whether the proceedings are taken in the Federal Court or the South Australian Courts will depend on the circumstances of your case. There are benefits to class actions for plaintiffs (the injured or affected person) and again you need to speak to that experienced lawyer I keep talking about.

Andersons’ medical negligence lawyers have written a lot about relevant medical negligence and in this current SA Health issue relating to incorrect test results being given to men suffering from prostate cancer, several of our articles are likely to be highly relevant.

I would suggest you follow the links below and see if any of them apply to your situation and do call us if you have questions at all about the situation you find yourself in.

Establishing "causation" is a major aspect of medical negligence claims

When can you claim compensation for pure mental harm?

I want to sue my doctor. How long have I got to do this?

I have been prescribed the wrong medication. Do I have any rights to compensation?

Please note, this Blog is posted in Adelaide, South Australia by Andersons Solicitors. It relates to South Australian legislation. Andersons Solicitors is a medium sized law firm servicing metropolitan Adelaide and regional South Australia across all areas of law for individuals and businesses.

Contact Us

For enquiries, please fill in the following contact form