Delayed Cancer Diagnosis Leads to Death of Mother

Delayed cancer diagnosis

19.09.2006

A mother of two who died of cancer was repeatedly told by her doctor that she had swollen glands and had nothing to worry about, a General Medical Council Fitness To Practise Panel was told today.

At one point Dr Inayat Inayatullah even reduced Linda Geden to tears, accusing her of wasting his time, the panel heard.

Dr Inayatullah faces allegations that he failed to provide adequate care for Ms Geden. He is also accused of failing to conduct a full physical examination and failing to refer Ms Geden to a specialist.

The GMC panel, sitting in London, was told that Ms Geden went to Barking Road medical centre in East Ham in September 2002 complaining of a lump the size of a marble on her neck.

Stephen Brassington, for the GMC, said that, after touching the lump, Dr Inayatullah told her she had swollen glands, to take paracetamol and not to worry.

"This was a wholly inadequate consultation between doctor and patient," he said.

Ms Geden, of Plaistow, east London, returned to the surgery on two occasions in October because the lump had grown. In addition, her neck was stiff and she was suffering from hot and cold sweats.

But, Mr Brassington said, the doctor continued to put the symptoms down to swollen glands.

When Ms Geden returned to the surgery on November 7, 2002, Dr Inayatullah said he had told her that it was swollen glands enough times, she was wasting his time and he shouted at her to get out of his surgery. She left in tears, the panel heard.

Mr Brassington said that Ms Geden's symptoms were "clear red flags which any competent clinician should be wise to".

He added that the doctor's failings were compounded by "his appalling manner towards Linda Geden".

 

Visit to another doctor confirmed delayed cancer diagnosis

After registering with another doctor at another practice and undergoing tests, Ms Geden was eventually diagnosed with stage four Hodgkin's disease - a cancer that starts in lymphatic tissue - in April 2003.

She underwent chemotherapy, radiotherapy and had her spleen removed. In August 2004, when she had the all clear from cancer, she lodged a formal complaint about the doctor to the GMC.

But Ms Geden died in June 2006, aged 38 of septicaemia and progressive Hodgkin's disease. She leaves a partner and two sons aged five and eight.

Mr Brassington said: "The care given by this doctor was substandard. Not to examine her properly was a significant error. Not to examine her at all was a grave mistake."

In a statement read out at the hearing, compiled before her death, Ms Geden said: "I know that Dr Inayatullah would not have prevented me from having cancer, but I know it would not have reached the stage it did or spread if Dr Inayatullah had done his job properly."

Dr Inayatullah also faces allegations concerning two other patients.

Mr Brassington said that Susan Willis had attended the surgery in June 2004 with her 13-year-old son, Lee. The doctor is accused of telling Lee to shut up and then grabbing Susan Willis's arm when she asked him not to speak to her son in that way.

Mrs Willis reported the incident, which left her with a mark on her arm, to the police.

"This assault was inappropriate and below the standard one expects from a general practitioner," said Mr Brassington.

The doctor subsequently told Lillian Brady, Mrs Willis's mother, on more than one occasion that her daughter was a liar and had got him into trouble, Mr Brassington said.

Since 1998, Dr Inayatullah had been the only GP at the practice, which has 4,000 patients listed.

He denies any wrong-doing.

The GMC hearing was also told that Newham NHS Primary Care Trust invited Dr Inayatullah to undergo a performance assessment in December 2004 following the complaints. Dr Inayatullah admits that he failed to respond to the invitation, which led to his case being referred to the Fitness To Practise Panel.

The hearing continues.