NHS chief's aplogoy after lung cancer patient was not diagnosed for three years

Matthew Kershaw

Matthew Kershaw

First published in News by , Health reporter

A “CATASTROPHIC” and “irreversible” mistake was made when a patient’s lung cancer was not diagnosed at an early stage.

The patient had been referred to Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust because he had severe anaemia.

A growth showed up on an X-ray but it was missed and when the patient was eventually diagnosed it was too late and he is now terminally ill.

The man, named only as Brian, was referred to the trust in January 2010.

He was given a blood transfusion and investigations were carried out to try and establish the cause of his condition, which seemed to suggest he was bleeding internally.

He also had a chest X-ray because he was a life-long smoker and had recently lost weight.

Brian was feeling much better the next day and as the investigations of his stomach had not found any issues, he was discharged with an outpatients appointment for the digestive diseases department.

But nobody had followed up his chest X-ray before he was discharged.

In January 2013 Brian was referred to the trust again for a cough he could not shake off and an X-ray showed a mass in his lung.

When the original chest X-ray from 2010 was looked at it became apparent that a smaller and less obvious mass was there at that time.

The patient’s story emerged when he spoke to trust board members.

It cannot be said for certain whether an early diagnosis would have prevented the cancer from being terminal.

But trust chief executive Matthew Kershaw said there had been a clinical error in the patient’s treatment.

In a message to staff, Mr Kershaw said the board had responsibility for the trust’s services.

“We can never know for certain what treatment would have been possible had Brian’s lung cancer been diagnosed in 2010 as opposed to 2013, by which time it was inoperable and terminal, but what we do know is that we made a catastrophic and irreversible clinical error.

“The extensive changes we have made to our systems will reduce the likelihood of the same mistake happening again.

“But despite our best efforts people are fallible, they get distracted, they forget things and they make mistakes.

“That is why we need to have the courage to design systems which presume people will make mistakes and, when they do, have the courage to talk about them openly and honestly.

“That is the only way we will protect our patients from harm.”

Comments (4)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

1:07pm Wed 6 Aug 14

getThisCoalitionOut says...

"NHS chief's aplogoy after lung cancer patient was not diagnosed for three years"

Siobhan Ryan you spell APOLOGY like that - use spellchecker or get a dictionary.

I trust the NHS Trust overpaid chief is now going to be sacked?
"NHS chief's aplogoy after lung cancer patient was not diagnosed for three years" Siobhan Ryan you spell APOLOGY like that - use spellchecker or get a dictionary. I trust the NHS Trust overpaid chief is now going to be sacked? getThisCoalitionOut
  • Score: 2

1:11pm Wed 6 Aug 14

Number Six says...

Along with everybody who actually missed the lump?
Along with everybody who actually missed the lump? Number Six
  • Score: 1

2:50pm Wed 6 Aug 14

tooned_in says...

The NHS is shot beyond repair, GP's just seem to go through the motions, takes forever to get a hospital appointment.
This poor gentleman is paying a huge price for the NHS under achieving, smoker or not he is entitled to the very best in medical care.
The NHS is NOT a free service we pay for it through our taxes.....it's time for large shake ups...if we can send millions in aid each year surely we can afford to invest in our own medical system?
The NHS is shot beyond repair, GP's just seem to go through the motions, takes forever to get a hospital appointment. This poor gentleman is paying a huge price for the NHS under achieving, smoker or not he is entitled to the very best in medical care. The NHS is NOT a free service we pay for it through our taxes.....it's time for large shake ups...if we can send millions in aid each year surely we can afford to invest in our own medical system? tooned_in
  • Score: 0

1:23pm Thu 7 Aug 14

Goldenwight says...

getThisCoalitionOut wrote:
"NHS chief's aplogoy after lung cancer patient was not diagnosed for three years" Siobhan Ryan you spell APOLOGY like that - use spellchecker or get a dictionary. I trust the NHS Trust overpaid chief is now going to be sacked?
I couldn't comment about overpaid, and neither should you unless you are prepared to back that statement up, but why should HE resign? Yes, I grant you he ultimately carries the can (even assuming that he was actually in charge 4 years ago, which may not even be the case), but this was certainly not his fault and measures have now been put in place to reduce the chances of this happening again.

If we started sacking the Officers in Charge of all public projects for every error that every public servant made there would be 2 main effects. One, there would be a dire shortage of them, and two, the Country would be bankrupted within six months from paying out all of the wrongful dismissal claims.
[quote][p][bold]getThisCoalitionOut[/bold] wrote: "NHS chief's aplogoy after lung cancer patient was not diagnosed for three years" Siobhan Ryan you spell APOLOGY like that - use spellchecker or get a dictionary. I trust the NHS Trust overpaid chief is now going to be sacked?[/p][/quote]I couldn't comment about overpaid, and neither should you unless you are prepared to back that statement up, but why should HE resign? Yes, I grant you he ultimately carries the can (even assuming that he was actually in charge 4 years ago, which may not even be the case), but this was certainly not his fault and measures have now been put in place to reduce the chances of this happening again. If we started sacking the Officers in Charge of all public projects for every error that every public servant made there would be 2 main effects. One, there would be a dire shortage of them, and two, the Country would be bankrupted within six months from paying out all of the wrongful dismissal claims. Goldenwight
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree