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West Bradford mum died after X-ray error
10:30am Monday 11th February 2013 in News
THE trust which runs East Lancashire’s hospitals has admitted failing to act on an X-ray revealing cancer in a mum later killed by the disease.
Linda Renshaw launched a medical negligence battle after she was diagnosed with the terminal lung condition which spread to her brain.
Three years earlier a doctor had spotted the early signs of the cancer on an x-ray at Royal Blackburn Hospital but nothing was followed up.
Mrs Renshaw, 61, told her family she had instructed solicitors because ‘she didn’t want it to happen to anyone else’.
Following her death, her husband of 34 years, Arthur, is continuing the legal fight in her memory.
The couple’s case is one of 45 against the trust launched by solicitors Manchester-based solicitors Pannone in the last five years - 27 of which are still active.
Last week the Government announced an independent inquiry after the trust recorded higher than expected mortality rates for two successive years.
It is one of five trusts nationally to be investigated and was 13 per cent above expectations.
Mr Renshaw, 71, said: “Linda instructed the solicitor because she didn’t want it to happen to anyone else. She told me I’d have to take it on though.
“She made me promise to see it through to the end so that it didn’t happen to another family.
“Nothing can bring her back but she wanted me to fight for justice.
“I got called to a meeting with the clinical director. They said ‘we failed your wife’. They have admitted neglect and causation of death.
“An independent consultant said she could have been cured.
“It’s devastating. I will never get over it. We were looking forward to retiring.”
Mrs Renshaw, a mum-of-three and stepmum-of-three, had the initial chest X-ray at the Royal Blackburn Hospital after she suffered a heart attack in July 2008.
According to Mr Renshaw, four days later a doctor spotted the tumour and a note was sent to the ward she had been on to follow it up.
He said: “They are supposed to have computer systems where the information was passed to the GP, but it wasn’t logged.”
In 2010, Mrs Renshaw went to her GP and was told she was having seizures. After initially being treated for sinus problems, she was sent to hospital for an X-ray.
Mr Renshaw, of Three Rivers, West Bradford, said: “The following day we heard from the hospital and a doctor said can I come and speak with you.
“He came and said, ‘I’m sorry to inform you that you have advanced lung cancer and it has spread to your brain’.
“We told him Linda had had an X-ray in 2008 and he said ‘yes, when you had that X-ray the doctor spotted the early signs but nothing was followed up’.
“He gave her five months to live. I was numb, but Linda was full of hope that she would beat the cancer.
“She was determined to fight the cancer and turned to alternative medicine. We were spending £500 a month on treatments.
“She was taken really ill in April 2011. In the May she went into hospital and died.
“Linda was the breadwinner. She had three part time jobs as a cleaner and a lunch time assistant. I had retired due to ill health.”
Mrs Renshaw, who had worked as a cleaner at Clitheroe High School, Whalley Primary School and Oakhill College, was buried in her mother of the bride outfit she had planned to wear for her daughter Tracy’s wedding in July.
Marged Berry, of Pannone Solicitors, said Mrs Renshaw died of lung cancer on May 9 2011. She said the trust had admitted neglect and causation of death.
Ms Berry said there had been a failure to follow up on a chest x-ray which clearly showed early cancerous changes in summer 2008, but Mrs Renshaw was not actually diagnosed until early 2011 by which time the cancer was terminal.
She said: “We are disturbed by the number of cases that we see. Arthur Renshaw’s case is an example of that. It’s such a simple error that could have meant that Mrs Renshaw survived.
“The inquiry is welcomed because it will lead to a rethink of policies and procedures and better patient care.
“Although we have a substantial number of cases against East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, we can’t draw any conclusions. We have to wait for the inquiry.”
Lynn Wissett, deputy chief executive for East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The trust has met with Mr Renshaw and a detailed investigation into his concerns was undertaken.
“We would again offer our sincere condolences to Mr Renshaw.
“The matter is now subject to litigation and the trust and the National Health Service Litigation Authority are working with Mr Renshaw’s legal representatives.”
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