Lab Scientist Suspended

Delayed cancer diagnosis


A total of seventeen patients at Hereford County Hospital told that they did not have cancer were later told that they did it has been revealed.

A lab scientist has also been suspended from his duties and 100 people who had a cancer screening have been recalled following an announcement by the hospital that 40 of the 102 patients' prognoses had been worse than they had been told.

In total 70 patients' treatments have been changed, however the hospital have said that no lives are threatened by misdiagnosis.

The member of staff was reported to management by his colleagues.

Following these reports 5,404 samples, from 4,654 patients, which were studied between May 2006 and August 2007, were reviewed.

A further 14 patients were informed they had cancer but did not, some of whom underwent radiotherapy as a result.

The consultant has been suspended on full pay.

Tim Deeming from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "Clearly everyone affected will be concerned that not having received the appropriate treatment at the appropriate time has adversely affected their chances of recovery or worsened their prognosis. This is not the first time that a large group have people have been harmed by what appears to have involved the poor judgment of a histopathologist which is why a careful multidisciplinary approach to diagnosis and assessment of treatment modality is so important .An episode such as this demands an independent inquiry into what went wrong so that lessons can be learned across the health service.'