A patient in Essex with cancer has been reimbursed the £12,000 he paid out to receive a further professional opinion after being denied it by a mid-Essex hospital. After being diagnosed with cancer at the hospital, the man called only Mr R was told his condition was terminal. The only possible approach was to receive palliative chemotherapy as they insisted the cancer was inoperable.
The hospital also refused to provide him with a second opinion. According to reports he was told this would be “pointless”. However Mr R decided to pay for a second opinion privately instead. It was at this point he discovered the cancer was operable and indeed he went through an operation that met with success.
Julie Mellor, working for the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, highlighted the case in a report covering 161 separate cases concerning the health service. The case also revealed that when the patient shared the results of his private consultation with the original hospital, they wanted more tests to be done. The operation was eventually done at another hospital within the NHS. Mr R received £12,000 from the hospital trust to cover the cost of the private consultation, but only paid him £500 in compensation on top of this.
What could the potential outcome of an incorrect cancer diagnosis be?
As this case illustrates, there is a potential in these situations for an individual to be denied potentially life-saving surgery if an initial opinion deems it the wrong path to go down.
Thankfully Mr R sought a second opinion elsewhere but if he had not the decision made by the Mid Essex Hospital NHS Trust would have been to provide palliative care including chemotherapy. This could potentially have led to a much shorter life-span for the patient concerned. Not everyone would fight a decision like this or get a second opinion.
Source: Essex Chronicle
Date Published: November 19, 2014
Author: David Brown