Hospital error mistakenly informs hundreds of patients that they have cancer

Wiseman Admin2019, NegligenceLeave a Comment

A hospital in Scotland has been forced to apologise after hundreds of patients received letters wrongly stating that they had cancer.

Almost 400 patients who had recently been discharged from the Forth Valley Royal Hospital and their GP’s were sent the letters by mistake following a computer glitch.

The glitch was caused whilst updating the trust’s computer system, where an error caused some patients previous medical history which appeared on the bottom of the letter to indicate they had cancer or endometriosis, a condition which affects the womb.

Forth Valley NHS said the error did not affect all of the 386 patients who were sent an apology, but they did not know how many discharge letters had been altered by the glitch.

The wife of one patient, who received the news he had cancer in error, described the incident as “cruel”.

She said: “We read through the document and were horrified to note that in the section entitled ‘Co-morbidities’ both colorectal cancer and lung cancer were mentioned.

“Naturally, we were both shocked and deeply concerned that the first time we were hearing about this was in a letter, which didn’t look like it should have been sent to us.”

A spokeswoman for NHS Forth Valley said the rest of the information in the letter was accurate, and an updated printed version will be sent to all patients.

“This issue only affected discharge letters sent to GPs and, in some cases, patients during a short period from Ist – 7th August 2019,” they said.

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