Cancer patient’s diagnosis delayed

A Derry family has spoken out after an 82 year old lung cancer patient waited 11 months for diagnoses. The pensioner, who has not been identified, was admitted to Altnagelvin Hospital in August 2009 and released shortly afterwards. It’s understood that after hearing nothing for a further for eleven months. he was then recalled to the hospital and it was disclosed that he was suffering from lung cancer.

It’s believed that the late diagnosis was due to backlog in x rays at the hospital. The family of the man said yesterday that they had been failed by the Western Health Trust.

At least one of four people whose cancer diagnosis was delayed at Derry’s Altnagelvin Hospital has since died.

Details of the person’s death emerged after the Western Trust revealed that four people had to wait up to 10 months for their cancer to be diagnosed. The delays happened after written assessments of 18,500 X-rays were not carried out. It is not clear whether the delay in diagnosis contributed to the death.

SDLP Foyle MLA Pól Callaghan said reports that the 82 year-old Derry man’s cancer was missed for 11 months as a result of the X-ray backlog blunder reinforced the need for the authorities to come clean about the causes and effects of the delays.

The city’s MLA on the Assembly health committee said: “People throughout Derry and beyond will be distressed and dismayed by these reports. tObviously, all our first thoughts are with him and his family as they cope with their ordeal.

“They deserved the best possible care and they were let down. Those of us in positions of public representation have an obligation to continue to pursue this matter so that its causes and effects are fully known.

“The community has been frustrated for some time that the Western Trust and the Board have hidden behind the veil of data protection to withhold information of legitimate public concern. It was not even revealed that the Board was carrying out a review until it was leaked. These people need to realise that is not the way it should be done.

“This revelation clearly points to a direct consequential effect of the X-Ray failure on the life prospects of at least one patient. What else have they hidden?”

the authorities chose not to inform the public or their representatives about this serious failure within the Trust.

else have they hidden.”