In November last year it was widely reported that Fairfield General Hospital in Bury admitted failures that led to delayed cancer diagnosis. The result was a delay in treatment, months of agony for the patient and an upsetting and traumatic outcome.
The patient in question, a 77 year old grandfather from Harpurhey, first went to the A&E at Fairfield General Hospital in October 2014, complaining of chest pains and shortness of breath.
The hospital later admitted that an initial scan revealed an ‘abnormality’ on his chest, but instead of referring him for further tests and making a diagnosis, doctors did nothing with the information.
The teetotal, non smoker, returned to the hospital eight months later, still in pain. Doctors carried out further tests and found the abnormality had grown. Two days later, a diagnosis of terminal lung cancer was delivered. The gentlemen died in October 2015 – a year after he first went to hospital with symptoms.
A Case of Medical Negligence
Following the loss, the family of the gentleman decided to take the matter further, instructing medical negligence lawyers to look into the case
As a result, the hospital admitted that the care received following the first scan was not up to standard. The lung cancer diagnosis had been delayed by eight months due to “hospital failings”.
Speaking of their father’s ordeal, the family noted that he had been a keen cyclist and was extremely healthy. The news of his cancer had come as a massive bombshell for them all. His daughter was quoted as saying:-
“We were so shocked that the problem could have been missed and we do think that the earlier diagnosis would have made a huge difference. Ultimately, his health had not deteriorated in October 2014 so I am sure he would have proceeded with chemotherapy, which could have really improved his quality of life and ensured we would all have had extra time together.”
Hospital Admits Mistakes
As a result of the negligence case brought against them, Fairfield General Hospital admitted failings and made a settlement to the family.
The case was all the more tragic, in that the hospital admitted that negligence took the form of “not acting on the results” of the earlier scan when the abnormality was noted. In the words of the medical negligence solicitors who investigated the case, “It appears that it (the scan result) was simply filed away.”
The family took the publicity the case generated as an opportunity to raise awareness of lung cancer, and the standards of care available in hospitals, with the hope that lessons could be learned to prevent others from facing the ordeal their father did.
It is clear that standards of support offered for patients must be improved. A spokesperson for Fairfield General Hospital said: “We would like to express our condolences to (the) family for their loss … and to apologise for the delay in diagnosis in the months leading up to his death, for that we are truly sorry.”
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