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East Kent Hospitals payout over false cancer diagnosis

Source: , Posted On:   14 December 2020

East Kent Hospitals payout over false cancer diagnosis

Janice Johnston

Janice Johnston

A woman has been awarded more than £75,000 after doctors falsely told her she had cancer.

Mum-of-four Janice Johnston had to go through 18 months of "living hell" and chemotherapy, after she was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer at Kent and Canterbury Hospital in 2017.

In 2019 she sought alternative treatment, but doctors at Guy's Hospital in London found no cancer.

East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust admitted liability.

The hospital

A medical negligence claim found staff at the hospital failed to do the necessary ultrasound scan and bone marrow biopsy before diagnosing Mrs Johnston.

The trust agreed, via Shantala Carr, solicitor at Girlings Personal Injury Claims, to pay £75,950,

Mrs Johnson, 53, said: "When I was told I had cancer, my family and I went into shock.

"It was horrible telling my children, not knowing if I would be around to see them grow up."

'Constantly anxious'

Mrs Johnston said she was "constantly anxious and living in fear" after being told she was at high risk of suffering a fatal heart attack, stroke or blood clot.

As well as weight loss and general weakness, the chemotherapy caused her to lose teeth. Her gums receded, and she suffered nausea and night sweats.

An auxiliary nurse in a care home, she was too ill to work and resigned from her job.

Janice Johnston

Janice Johnston

"I wasn't living, I was just existing," she said.

Mrs Johnston told the hospital the chemotherapy was not working, but doctors continued to up her dosage.

It was only when she asked to be referred elsewhere that doctors at Guy's Hospital ran tests and discovered the misdiagnosis.

"When I was finally told I didn't have cancer, I felt a split second of relief, but then I felt so angry that I was needlessly put through living hell for two years," she said.

Correct testing found Mrs Johnston has a non-cancerous condition which causes her body to over-produce red blood cells.

A spokeswoman for East Kent Hospitals said: "A misdiagnosis of this kind is exceptionally rare and we wholeheartedly apologise to Ms Johnston for the omission in her care."