INSULT has been added to grave injury. That’s the accusation levelled at hospital bosses by a mastectomy victim whose case was excluded from a probe into bungled cancer scans at Accrington Victoria Hospital.
Susan Gilmore, 60, had a breast removed last February following a biopsy in December 2008, six years after her first scan at Accrington Victoria Hospital in 2002.
Last September East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust admitted that 18 women given the all clear by a consultant radiologist at the hospital had cancer, after a review of 355 scans going back to 2005.
The medic, Dr Glenn Anthony Kelly, is being investigated by the General Medical Council.
Hospital chiefs had given reassurances that no other patients dealt with by Dr Kelly could have slipped through the net due to the three-year screening cycle.
But it has now emerged that despite being recalled twice to see the same consultant in 2002 and 2005 only to be given the all clear, Mrs Gilmore’s case was overlooked.
The retired teacher decided to speak out fearing there could be other women in the same situation.
She said: “Last February I had the choice between my breasts and my life, and it was clear what I should do, just get rid of the cancer. I believe that in 2002 and 2005 I would have had different choices, but by the time I knew I had the cancer it was too late.”
She added: “I don’t know how they missed me when they admitted to the first 18 women being misdiagnosed. I felt neglected and I wanted somebody to know that I am one of those victims too. When I was first approached about coming forward it wasn’t something that I wanted to do because it is something that is very distressing for me but when my solicitors said it might make a difference I thought it was the right thing to do.”
Trust bosses began their review in early 2009 but claim that Mrs Gilmore, from Barnoldswick, was omitted from the probe because her diagnosis was made prior to the patient recalls.
They insist that every woman potentially affected has now been correctly diagnosed.
Director of screening Dr Richard Dobrashian explained: “Mrs Gilmore’s cancer was diagnosed by routine breast screening and not by the review process itself, which is why she was not included in the 18 cases. She contacted the Trust’s hotline following the announcement, and investigations into her case showed that her diagnosis had been delayed as a result of the issues surrounding the individual radiologist.
“Women can be reassured that the review was very thorough, and anyone seen by this radiologist prior to the three-year review period will now have been re-screened under the routine screening programme. I would like to apologise again to Mrs Gilmore for any delay in her diagnosis, and assure her that her case will be considered as evidence in the ongoing investigations into the causes of the incident.”
Solicitor Julianne Maclennnan, of clinical negligence firm Pannone LLP, is representing Mrs Gilmore along with several other Accrington Victoria patients. She said: “I am pleased to note that the Trust have now accepted that Susan was one of the ladies who were misdiagnosed by the radiologist at Accrington Victoria Community Hospital.
“We are concerned that there may have been a number of other women who have been misdiagnosed and who have not been included in the review the Trust undertook.”