Hospital apologises to father who was told he had cancer

WRONG DIAGNOSIS: Darren Plant with his wife Christine

WRONG DIAGNOSIS: Darren Plant with his wife Christine

First published in News
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A HOSPITAL trust has apologised to a father-of-three after he was wrongly diagnosed with potentially terminal cancer.

Darren Plant, 41, of Northallerton, North Yorkshire, was told he could have only three months to live without chemotherapy and even with it there was only a 50-50 chance he would survive.

Doctors at James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough told him he had a particularly aggressive strain of lymphoma, after a lump appeared on his neck.

But after his chemotherapy was cancelled at the last minute and he was allowed to go home he was later told it was a harmless growth.

Wife Christine said tonight (Monday, February 17):”It was absolutely horrendous. We have been through hell.

"We can’t believe they got it so wrong. We closed down our business because we thought we were facing months of chemotherapy. We’ve been left with severe financial problems and our lives have just been ruined.”

South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust which runs James Cook Hospital admitted the blunder, saying the wrong diagnosis was made.

They paid Mr Plant £10,000 and advised him to seek legal advice if he wished to pursue the case further.

Medical Director Professor Robert Wilson said: “In Mr Plant’s case, a wrong diagnosis was made and this should not have happened. We have sincerely apologised to him and can confirm a payment was made.

“There is no single test that can accurately diagnose cancer and a complete evaluation of a patient usually requires a thorough history and physical examination along with a number of diagnostic tests, as often other conditions can mimic the symptoms of cancer.”

Mrs Plant said the hospital had not apologised to the couple directly. She said it had all happened as they were planning a big party and a Carribean cruise for her husband’s 40th birthday.

She said: “We had a gathering but it wasn’t a party, people were in tears.

"We cancelled the cruise because we were told Darren had to go in straight away for the chemotherapy. We really were afraid he was going to die.

“Obviously it was a huge relief when we were told he was alright but this has had such a horrendous affect on us, we don’t know whether we can trust the hospital when they say he is okay."

Comments (5)

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12:50am Tue 18 Feb 14

pandorica says...

Must of been horrendous hearing those words, but thank goodness they did get it wrong. Lets be honest I think you are probably glad they did, medicine is so hard, and mistakes do happen. A growth can display similar characteristics and manifest itself easily. I for one was told recently my lung had a shadow on it, possible malignancy. I feared the worst, but was not until I went under several scans, and surgery could they distinguish that it was not malignant. I was just happy this was the case. I certainly did not expect an apology or compensation because of it. You live and learn, after all we would not be as advanced in medicine today if mistakes had not been made previously to learn from.
Must of been horrendous hearing those words, but thank goodness they did get it wrong. Lets be honest I think you are probably glad they did, medicine is so hard, and mistakes do happen. A growth can display similar characteristics and manifest itself easily. I for one was told recently my lung had a shadow on it, possible malignancy. I feared the worst, but was not until I went under several scans, and surgery could they distinguish that it was not malignant. I was just happy this was the case. I certainly did not expect an apology or compensation because of it. You live and learn, after all we would not be as advanced in medicine today if mistakes had not been made previously to learn from. pandorica
  • Score: 11

3:54am Tue 18 Feb 14

Wolfgangerl says...

Yes mistakes in medicine do happen but this is especially odd, and I say this as someone who knows a thing or two about lymphoma. To read the Medical Director say there is no one single test to diagnose cancer is rather shocking, since in the case of a patient presenting with a suspect swollen lymph node, there are standards of care available for the hospital to follow. Was he given a clinical diagnosis only? If so that's wildly irresponsible-- not only is there a proven method to diagnose lymphomas (an excisional biopsy of the node), but why would you send a patient to chemotherapy after a clinical diagnosis only? Somebody clearly dropped the ball on this guy, and every step should be taken to ensure it doesn't happen again, because maybe this guy was misdiagnosed and, hey good news, no cancer, the next mistake they make could go the other way, telling a sick patient they don't have cancer when they do and preventing them from getting potentially life saving treatment.
Yes mistakes in medicine do happen but this is especially odd, and I say this as someone who knows a thing or two about lymphoma. To read the Medical Director say there is no one single test to diagnose cancer is rather shocking, since in the case of a patient presenting with a suspect swollen lymph node, there are standards of care available for the hospital to follow. Was he given a clinical diagnosis only? If so that's wildly irresponsible-- not only is there a proven method to diagnose lymphomas (an excisional biopsy of the node), but why would you send a patient to chemotherapy after a clinical diagnosis only? Somebody clearly dropped the ball on this guy, and every step should be taken to ensure it doesn't happen again, because maybe this guy was misdiagnosed and, hey good news, no cancer, the next mistake they make could go the other way, telling a sick patient they don't have cancer when they do and preventing them from getting potentially life saving treatment. Wolfgangerl
  • Score: 5

5:46am Tue 18 Feb 14

Wolfgangerl says...

Editors, it's "effect" not "affect" in the wife's statement at the end of the article.
Editors, it's "effect" not "affect" in the wife's statement at the end of the article. Wolfgangerl
  • Score: 2

8:55am Tue 18 Feb 14

thehogman says...

Similar thing happened to my brothers seven year old grandson down in Cambridgeshire; his family were told he had cancer and to expect the worst. Thankfully it was a a mistake.....however that made it nonetheless distressing for the whole family at the time!!
Similar thing happened to my brothers seven year old grandson down in Cambridgeshire; his family were told he had cancer and to expect the worst. Thankfully it was a a mistake.....however that made it nonetheless distressing for the whole family at the time!! thehogman
  • Score: 1

10:32am Tue 18 Feb 14

greenfinger says...

Wolfgangerl wrote:
Yes mistakes in medicine do happen but this is especially odd, and I say this as someone who knows a thing or two about lymphoma. To read the Medical Director say there is no one single test to diagnose cancer is rather shocking, since in the case of a patient presenting with a suspect swollen lymph node, there are standards of care available for the hospital to follow. Was he given a clinical diagnosis only? If so that's wildly irresponsible-- not only is there a proven method to diagnose lymphomas (an excisional biopsy of the node), but why would you send a patient to chemotherapy after a clinical diagnosis only? Somebody clearly dropped the ball on this guy, and every step should be taken to ensure it doesn't happen again, because maybe this guy was misdiagnosed and, hey good news, no cancer, the next mistake they make could go the other way, telling a sick patient they don't have cancer when they do and preventing them from getting potentially life saving treatment.
excellent point
[quote][p][bold]Wolfgangerl[/bold] wrote: Yes mistakes in medicine do happen but this is especially odd, and I say this as someone who knows a thing or two about lymphoma. To read the Medical Director say there is no one single test to diagnose cancer is rather shocking, since in the case of a patient presenting with a suspect swollen lymph node, there are standards of care available for the hospital to follow. Was he given a clinical diagnosis only? If so that's wildly irresponsible-- not only is there a proven method to diagnose lymphomas (an excisional biopsy of the node), but why would you send a patient to chemotherapy after a clinical diagnosis only? Somebody clearly dropped the ball on this guy, and every step should be taken to ensure it doesn't happen again, because maybe this guy was misdiagnosed and, hey good news, no cancer, the next mistake they make could go the other way, telling a sick patient they don't have cancer when they do and preventing them from getting potentially life saving treatment.[/p][/quote]excellent point greenfinger
  • Score: 0

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