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Hospital admits cancer test blunders


1 August, 2008  

A hospital gave 17 patients the all-clear when they were in fact suffering from cancer, it has emerged.

Another 14 patients, some who had radiotherapy, were told they had the disease when they did not. Hereford County Hospital has confirmed that a review of samples had found mistakes in diagnosis.

The investigation into samples from 4,654 patients was announced earlier this year after mistakes made in the hospital’s laboratory came to light.

A consultant has since been suspended pending the completion of disciplinary procedures. All tissue samples were taken between May 2006 and August 2007.

A statement from Hereford Hospitals NHS Trust said: “The review followed indications of possible errors in the examination of a small proportion of tissue samples by one consultant working at the hospital during that time.

“All 5,404 samples (from the 4,654 patients) examined by the individual during that period were sent for review by an independent external laboratory.

“As a consequence, a total of 102 patients had to be recalled to discuss changes in their diagnosis or treatment.

“Of these, the prognosis was more serious for 40 patients, with the prognosis for the remaining 62 being either less serious or not materially different.

“Of the 102 patients recalled, 70 required a change in treatment. Treatment plans have now been updated accordingly.”

Copyright PA Business 2008

Hereford County Hospital