14 June 2017
"I Could Have Died" - Cancer Patient Left Waiting 14 Months For Diagnosis
A radiologist whose errors led to a major breast cancer screening scandal has again admitted failing to properly treat a patient with signs she had a tumour.
Dr Kong Fa Lan Keng Lun has admitted not ordering follow up tests after a scan showed a suspicious mass when he first examined the woman in June 2012.
It was not until 14 months later that she was finally diagnosed with breast cancer which required urgent surgery.
The 46-year-old woman, from Ipswich, who wished to remain anonymous, is taking legal action against Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust, where Dr Lan was a consultant, claiming a 14-month delay in getting an accurate diagnosis caused serious health complications and significantly shortened her life expectancy.
It makes me so angry to think that I could have died because this cancer wasn’t treated for 14 months after I was first seen by Dr Lan.
Dr Lan, had been in charge of screening at St Margaret’s Hospital, Epping, where nearly 6,000 tests carried out between March 2003 and November 2004 had to be reviewed following serious failings.
In the latest case, it is claimed Dr Lan, while working at Ipswich Hospital, dismissed the suspicious mass as a normal lymph node when he first examined her in June 2012.
It was not until September 2013, when she was referred back in agony, that five malignant tumours were discovered in her right breast.
Fearing time was running out, she opted to go to a private clinic to undergo a double mastectomy.
The patient said: “The impact on my health has been devastating. Every day is agony and I’ve been left with terrible health problems. I developed lymphedema. I still suffer from exhaustion. I’m still undergoing regular blood tests as my immune system is so low.
“It was a dreadful experience which has had a lasting impact on my life. It makes me so angry to think that I could have died because this cancer wasn’t treated for 14 months after I was first seen by Dr Lan.
“But what makes matters worse is that he has failed patients before and been allowed to come back and carry on treating women.
“For those 14 months after being examined by Dr Lan, I had to cope with the pain with ice packs but began suffering with extreme exhaustion.”
She added: “The private surgeon who carried out the double mastectomy told me that I wouldn’t have made it to Christmas if I hadn’t had surgery to remove the tumours.
The patient’s lawyer, Victoria Gofton, a clinical negligence specialist from Slater and Gordon, said: “We believe Dr Lan’s failure to recognise the significance of the mass and order follow up tests caused a 14-month delay in receiving treatment which she urgently needed. We are investigating if her condition was significantly worse as a result of the delay.”
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