A 62-year-old grandmother from Falmouth spent 11 months believing she had cancer, after an incorrect diagnosis was made by Derriford Hospital. Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust has now apologised for the ‘suffering and distress’ the mistake caused Mrs Hoyle.
The error resulted in Mrs Hoyle being told she had a condition called MGUS, which an abnormal protein is in your blood and can be a pre-curser to cancer.
In a letter sent to Mrs Hoyle in June, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust explained that the error was the result of the misinterpretation of blood test results. The letter reveals that, because of this issue, 258 people are known to have received incorrect results by Derriford Hospital, for blood tests taken between 3rd May and 29th July 2016.
Medical Negligence lawyers from South West law firm Coodes Solicitors, who are now pursuing the case on behalf of Mrs Hoyle, are concerned that a number of people may have suffered needless stress and worry because of the issue. The firm says many also underwent unnecessary tests, in some cases even having bone marrow samples taken.
After routine blood tests in April 2016, Mrs Hoyle was told that she had MGUS. However, Mrs Hoyle says she was not given any information about the condition but was handed a leaflet from MacMillan Cancer Support, which led her to believe she had cancer.
After further blood tests, Mrs Hoyle was told in February 2017 that she did not have MGUS. She then received the letter from Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust explaining that an incorrect diagnosis had been made.
Mrs Hoyle said: “I thought that I was going to die. I am quite a secretive person so kept my diagnosis to myself. I had dark times and if I was by myself I would get very emotional. I would think about not being able to see my grandchildren grow up. I was also extremely worried about my businesses and as the main income earner in the household, I was worried how we would pay the bills when I became too ill to work.
“I now feel relieved that I do not have cancer, but I also feel extremely angry that I was led to believe I had MGUS for nearly a year.”
Rachel Pearce, Partner in the Medical Negligence Department at Coodes Solicitors said: “Mrs Hoyle spent nearly a year believing she had cancer and was going to die. She also went through a series of unnecessary blood tests. This traumatic experience was caused by a mistake from Derriford Hospital.
“We were shocked to learn that Mrs Hoyle is just one of 258 people to have been given incorrect test results because of the same issue. In its letter, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust refers to a ‘lack of experience’ for some staff, ‘communication factors’ between biomedical scientists and clinical staff and ‘inadequate and inappropriate training’ from the manufacturers of diagnostic machines for hospital staff. Worryingly, their report also cites an incident in 2013, which led to the recommendation that staff were retrained – there is no evidence that this has been done.”