Glasgow & West Scotland

Oban hospital cancer death woman 'incorrectly diagnosed'

Lorn and Islands Hospital Image copyright Google
Image caption The woman was admitted to a ward on her third visit in days to Lorn and Islands Hospital

A health watchdog has criticised NHS Highland over its failings in the case of a woman who died from cancer.

The woman twice went to Oban's Lorn and Islands Hospital with vomiting symptoms and was discharged on both occasions.

She was incorrectly diagnosed with a urinary tract infection, said the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.

However, on a third visit to the hospital the woman was admitted to a ward and found to have cancer. She later died of her illness.

The ombudsman (SPSO) has upheld her family's complaints about her treatment.

NHS Highland said it wished to sincerely apologise to the patient's family for "the failings in care and treatment provided".

Following an assessment on her first visit to the hospital's emergency department the woman, who has not been named, was given antibiotics.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The woman was given antibiotics on her first visit to Accident and Emergency

She returned two days later, was assessed again before being discharged back to her home.

About five days later, she went back to the hospital and was eventually admitted to a ward.

Investigations were made and it was found she had cancer that had spread through her body. Her health deteriorated during her admission and she died.

'Unreasonable decisions'

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) said the patient was "unreasonably discharged" from the emergency department on two occasions without her symptoms being effectively managed.

The watchdog also found that an incorrect diagnosis had been reached during the first visit, and her second visit to the hospital was "poorly documented".

It said when she was finally admitted to a ward there was an "unreasonable delay" in obtaining a CT scan of her chest and abdomen.

The SPSO noted that NHS Highland apologised to the patient's family for inaccurate information regarding the length of time to obtain test results.

But it has recommended the health board apologise for the "unreasonable decisions" to discharge the woman twice, the incorrect diagnosis of a urinary tract infection and poor documentation of her second hospital attendance.

NHS Highland should also apologise for the "unreasonable delay" obtaining a scan, said the ombudsman.

A spokesman for the health board said: "NHS Highland's chief executive Iain Stewart would like to sincerely apologise to the patient's family for the failings in care and treatment provided.

"We have reviewed the findings within the report and have shared the recommendations with all the professionals involved, and have now made a significant number of improvements to current practices"

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