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."