Dr Gray’s admit missed steps in treating cancer patient

DR GRAY’S HOSPITAL has accepted criticism from the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman saying that they have already taken steps with a review resulting from a complaint from the family of a cancer patient.

The Ombudsman’s investigation was sparked by the husband of ‘Patient A’, who was admitted to the hospital after visiting her GP with severe neck, shoulder and arm pain – it was known already that she had lung cancer.

She underwent a scan of her shoulder but that revealed no problems, with staff at the acute medical assessment unit deciding not to order any further scans or x-rays and discharging the patient after an overnight stay.

However, days later she was admitted to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary where staff did undertake further investigations – revealing that the cancer had spread to two bones in her neck and to her brain. After being shown the findings of the Ombudsman, NHS Grampian acknowledged that the patient should have been given a neck x-ray at Dr Gray’s.

The Ombudsman found that health workers at Dr Gray’s should have considered the possibility of the patients’ cancer spreading. NHS Grampian has subsequently apologised for the delay in diagnosis that resulted and a failure to either recognise or control the pain that the patient had reported to her GP.

Dr Gray’s hospital board said it has now taken steps following the complaint and will also be using the National Cancer Treatment Helpline in future as well as adding documentation to their own staff intranet and induction materials.