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GPs and hospitals repeatedly miss life threatening tumours

View profile for Judith Thomas-Whittingham
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Hospitals and GPs in Essex are being criticised for failing to identify a tumour the size of an orange despite repeated attendances by the patient.
Mr Purkiss attended his GP practice on three occasions in January 2011 and February 2011 complaining of severe headaches however he was discharged with antibiotics twice and referred for a non – urgent CT scan.
His pain was so severe that he was taken to hospital by ambulance in February but medics diagnosed him as suffering with headaches brought on by stress. Despite his deteriorating condition, Mr Purkiss was refused an appointment at his GP practice as his condition was deemed not be an ‘emergency’ and he was prescribed further antibiotics.
After two subsequent appointments at A&E, Mr Purkiss was diagnosed with chronic sinusitis and non-urgent surgery was planned. He contacted his GP again in June 2011 and was refused an appointment due to a four week waiting list. He was also refused admission to another hospital for being out of the catchment area.
On 13 June 2011 My Purkiss attended a neurology appointment, following the referral in January 2011, and a large brain tumour was identified. A subsequent MRI scan confirmed the diagnosis and he underwent emergency surgery days later to remove the tumour. Mr Purkiss was advised that the tumour was a similar size to an orange and it was described by the clinicians as one of the biggest they had ever seen. Mr Purkiss was told that he is unlikely to have survived for any longer that four weeks had the tumour not been removed.
Mr Purkiss described his ordeal as a living nightmare having been repeatedly misdiagnosed by various clinicians over a period of six months.
This case highlights the increasing number of GPs and hospitals that are failing to identify life threatening illnesses and conditions despite repeated attendances by the patients.
By clinical negligence solicitor, Claire Stockley