Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Cancer Patients Wrongly Cleared

Seventeen women had a diagnosis delay of more than three months. Twenty-two women with breast cancer were wrongly given the all-clear after misdiagnoses by a radiologist at two hospitals in Greater Manchester. The consultant radiologist, who worked at North Manchester General Hospital and Trafford General, has not been named but has since been suspended.

The radiologist worked at North Manchester and Trafford hospitals. It states that decisions for 238 patients were wrong, and of those, 22 women who were given the all-clear have now discovered they have breast cancer.

Of those 22, 17 had a delay in diagnosis of more than three months. Delays of more than three months for the diagnosis of breast cancer can have serious implications. One woman had a delay of two years before she was told she had breast cancer.

Dr Richard Campbell, medical director at Trafford, said: "None have died. It is possible we think in 17 cases, out of 22, the delay in diagnosis was long enough that it might alter their outcome. "The longer the delay, then of course, your risks are going to go up."


Health managers have admitted that some of the women could die because of mistakes made from April 2003. Almost 2,500 scans were checked again after concerns came to light last year. The mammograms carried out by the consultant were recalled and re-checked after concerns were raised over the quality of his work last year.

Chris Harrison, from Greater Manchester Strategic Health Authority (GMSHA), said: "On behalf of the health authority I offer my apologies to the women affected by this, and for the worry and distress caused, in particular to the patients whose cancer diagnosis became delayed as a result of this incident.

"We will be commissioning a full, independent investigation into the circumstances of this incident to identify the route causes, what underlies this, what can we learn from it and how can we prevent it from happening again."

Small comfort for those affected. Possibly seriously because of an anonymous consultant's (alleged) incompetence. It's just not acceptable.


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