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Cancer patient may sue hospital


11 September, 2008  

Hospital bosses are facing the threat of legal action brought by a pensioner who gave away more than GBP 18,000 when he was wrongly told he had terminal cancer.

Last September, medics at St John’s Hospital in Livingston told Andy Lees, 72, that he had terminal cancer of the lung and liver after he collapsed and underwent tests.

Believing he was dying, Mr Lees handed out GBP 12,000 of his life savings to family and friends and spent a further GBP 6,500 planning his own funeral.

However, doctors have now told Mr Lees he did not have cancer, but was suffering from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), which causes a narrowing of the airways.

“I nearly fell through the floor when they told me, I couldn’t believe it,” said Mr Lees, from Blackburn in West Lothian.

“My family and I went through hell because of this. I am definitely considering suing the hospital.”

Bosses at NHS Lothian said that they were investigating the mix-up. “We have already met with Mr Lees and his family and apologised for any distress caused,” Medical Director Dr Charles Swainson said.

“A formal investigation is already under way into how this happened and to take steps to stop it happening again.”

Copyright PA Business 2008

NHS Lothian