Blackburn shoulder pain man in testicles mix up

Paul Clegg with the letters he received from the health trust

Paul Clegg with the letters he received from the health trust

First published in News
Last updated
Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Health Reporter

HEALTH bosses have offered an ‘unreserved apology’ to dad-of-three Paul Clegg, who was left fearing he had testicular cancer after being mistaken for another patient.

Mr Clegg, from Blackburn, had gone to Barbara Castle Way Health Centre for routine tests on his shoulder, but when he arrived he was told to prepare for a scan on his testicles.

The 50-year-old quizzed staff, but said they insisted their records were correct and he should change into a patient gown.

Paul, whose wife Jackie died of breast cancer in 2003, said he then spent 30 minutes ‘engulfed in impending doom’ before the error was acknowledged.

He said: “Even after I questioned it, the staff were adamant that I was there for my testicles. They checked through all my information, including my address and GP details, and sat me down and said clearly that I was there for that reason.

“They really tried to convince me, and when they left me in this side room I was genuinely thinking I could have cancer and there was something seriously wrong.

“It was the worst 30 minutes of my life. I lost my wife to cancer when she was only 40 and I was actually thinking of getting up and running out I was so scared. It was like impending doom and the nurses could see how distressed I was.”

Paul, of Newton Street, Audley, has been recovering from a routine operation on his shoulder last year, and had been due to have an ultrasound scan to check his progress. He attended the health centre on March 26 after being sent an appointment letter, which is when the mix-up happened.

He made a formal complaint and has now received a written response from East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the radiology service at Barbara Castle Way.

It said GP surgeries now use an electronic system to order radiology tests, and where the patient details held on the GP database do not match those on the hospital computer system, the request is stored on a separate list for ‘manual intervention’ from office staff.

The letter added: “On this occasion, there was a request on the list for ultrasound tests for a patient with very similar details to you. On selecting a patient from the list, the clerical officer made an error and selected your name...

“I would like to assure you that the correct patient has since been contacted and had their appointment....Unfortunately, as demonstrated here, manual intervention can lead to human error on a rare occasion.”

But after meeting with senior medics to discuss his complaint, Paul, who works for Darwen-based officer furniture manufactuer Mercol, said: “They didn’t seem to think it was serious. They acted pretty blasé about it saying it was just a simple mistake, but I’m sorry I don’t accept there should be an element of human error when it comes to healthcare, just like there shouldn’t be when it comes to aircraft engineering.

“What would have happened if it was an older, more vulnerable patient, who might not have questioned them? At what point would it all have stopped? And it just makes you wonder how many times this sort of thing is happening, as it could have serious consequences if someone is given the wrong medication or operation.

“They must have safeguards and procedures in place. If it’s not caught the first time it needs to be caught the second.

“I’m not happy with their explanation and I think people need to be aware that things like this are happening, because otherwise they might not get spotted.”

Christine Pearson, chief nurse at ELHT, said Paul had been offered an ‘unreserved apology’, adding: “While we cannot comment on the case in detail, we explained the error was human and that the staff member involved has been spoken to emphasising the critical importance of ensuring that the right patient is associated with the correct records.

“We informed Mr Clegg that there are new procedures and systems in place to ensure that this does not happen again and we have contacted the patient with whom his records were confused to ensure that they received the correct care.

“We take every complaint seriously and the trust and team concerned has learned a valuable lesson in this case and we are grateful to Mr Clegg for his feedback.”

ELHT has been in special measures since last summer, when NHS inspectors made wide-ranging criticisms of the way it was run over several years.

Comments (19)

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9:21am Mon 16 Jun 14

Steven Seagull says...

Why would you go to the press with this?
Why would you go to the press with this? Steven Seagull
  • Score: 27

9:24am Mon 16 Jun 14

dallydally says...

What a balls up!
What a balls up! dallydally
  • Score: 36

9:24am Mon 16 Jun 14

woolywords says...

"Oh sorry," said the St Elsewhere Doctor, "I misheard what the Consultant had said, when he said all patients spectacles should be removed before a scan."
Holding up a jar, he went on,"What do I do, with these?"
"Oh sorry," said the St Elsewhere Doctor, "I misheard what the Consultant had said, when he said all patients spectacles should be removed before a scan." Holding up a jar, he went on,"What do I do, with these?" woolywords
  • Score: 29

10:46am Mon 16 Jun 14

alf-abett says...

Valuable lessons have been learned and new procedures are in place to ensure this will not happen again. Blah, blah blah. It's the same old rhetoric from the NHS. What I do not understand is why these procedures are not already in place.
Valuable lessons have been learned and new procedures are in place to ensure this will not happen again. Blah, blah blah. It's the same old rhetoric from the NHS. What I do not understand is why these procedures are not already in place. alf-abett
  • Score: 22

11:21am Mon 16 Jun 14

woolywords says...

It would be trite of me to say that it isn't rocket science, but it is, actually. For, just as NASA goes through many, many of checks before a launch, so should any procedure, in any walk of life. It is apparent to me that, in this case, they haven't been carried out, correctly.
A patient needs to be correctly identified, made aware of the procedure then more importantly, sign for it, as being happy with what has been explained to them. It used to happen but we seem to have got away from that in recent years and nobody seems to know why.
It would be nice to think that this won't ever happen again but we all know that it will, because it's the nature of humans, to make errors. Once over, a Doctor could bury his mistakes but it only takes one person, doing a proper checks, to catch a Dr Shipman.
It would be trite of me to say that it isn't rocket science, but it is, actually. For, just as NASA goes through many, many of checks before a launch, so should any procedure, in any walk of life. It is apparent to me that, in this case, they haven't been carried out, correctly. A patient needs to be correctly identified, made aware of the procedure then more importantly, sign for it, as being happy with what has been explained to them. It used to happen but we seem to have got away from that in recent years and nobody seems to know why. It would be nice to think that this won't ever happen again but we all know that it will, because it's the nature of humans, to make errors. Once over, a Doctor could bury his mistakes but it only takes one person, doing a proper checks, to catch a Dr Shipman. woolywords
  • Score: 9

11:42am Mon 16 Jun 14

mmickk says...

NHS deals with thousands of cases a day so what they make a mistake no harm done. The problem here is every time they do its how much compensation can I sue for. Then in a few years moan to the press because there ops cancelled due to lack of funds. These people make me sick is their world so perfect they never make a mistake. The NHS should bill him for entertainment value he will never hear the last of this at his local going to wish he kept his mouth shut and rightly so.
NHS deals with thousands of cases a day so what they make a mistake no harm done. The problem here is every time they do its how much compensation can I sue for. Then in a few years moan to the press because there ops cancelled due to lack of funds. These people make me sick is their world so perfect they never make a mistake. The NHS should bill him for entertainment value he will never hear the last of this at his local going to wish he kept his mouth shut and rightly so. mmickk
  • Score: 14

11:56am Mon 16 Jun 14

redpeg says...

OK, we are all very sorry that he was worried for a short while but don't, for goodness sake, turn this into a compensation claim.
OK, we are all very sorry that he was worried for a short while but don't, for goodness sake, turn this into a compensation claim. redpeg
  • Score: 25

12:02pm Mon 16 Jun 14

superdad1 says...

He has to think himself lucky he is not a animal and had to be put to sleep then the mistake realised.
He has to think himself lucky he is not a animal and had to be put to sleep then the mistake realised. superdad1
  • Score: 17

12:08pm Mon 16 Jun 14

peely says...

At least he had the balls to go to the press !
At least he had the balls to go to the press ! peely
  • Score: 21

12:25pm Mon 16 Jun 14

Fire Fly says...

For goodness sake, all told this error caused this man just over 30mins of upset. Yes I accept it would have been quite frightening but come on. All sorted before he left, yes i'd have been angry too but i'd have walked out thinking thank god!

I also notice this happened on 26 March, long time to wait before going to the press??? If he was 'so bothered' about these procdures, he'd have contacted LET at the time...being cynical I assume he didn't want to jeoprodise his compensation claim hence the wait.
For goodness sake, all told this error caused this man just over 30mins of upset. Yes I accept it would have been quite frightening but come on. All sorted before he left, yes i'd have been angry too but i'd have walked out thinking thank god! I also notice this happened on 26 March, long time to wait before going to the press??? If he was 'so bothered' about these procdures, he'd have contacted LET at the time...being cynical I assume he didn't want to jeoprodise his compensation claim hence the wait. Fire Fly
  • Score: 29

2:04pm Mon 16 Jun 14

frank says...

P*** up and brewery spring to mind
P*** up and brewery spring to mind frank
  • Score: 9

2:04pm Mon 16 Jun 14

frank says...

P*** up and brewery spring to mind
P*** up and brewery spring to mind frank
  • Score: 3

2:04pm Mon 16 Jun 14

frank says...

booze up and brewery spring to mind
booze up and brewery spring to mind frank
  • Score: 3

4:47pm Mon 16 Jun 14

Straight talker says...

I'm still trying to work out the link between a shoulder problem and testicular cancer .... Common sense tells me there's been a mix up ! It,s like going in with a knee problem, and being told to put a gown on because you're going to have your tonsils removed ....
I'm still trying to work out the link between a shoulder problem and testicular cancer .... Common sense tells me there's been a mix up ! It,s like going in with a knee problem, and being told to put a gown on because you're going to have your tonsils removed .... Straight talker
  • Score: 13

5:42pm Mon 16 Jun 14

phil kernot says...

Steven Seagull wrote:
Why would you go to the press with this?
Proves the staff are overloaded,, because labour paid for this hospital on the credit card that they can't afford to pay it back without letting staff be laid off ,,,, £138 million paid back over 30 years that's just to lease it , plus Balford charge the tax payer stupid money to hang pictures (. £180 to hang a picture , change a battery in a clock ,,,etc). And there's hundreds of these hospitals up and down the country. ,,, proves to me all the mps don't care about the public or thay wouldn't treat our money like this ,,, sack em all there all useless sponges ,,,,
[quote][p][bold]Steven Seagull[/bold] wrote: Why would you go to the press with this?[/p][/quote]Proves the staff are overloaded,, because labour paid for this hospital on the credit card that they can't afford to pay it back without letting staff be laid off ,,,, £138 million paid back over 30 years that's just to lease it , plus Balford charge the tax payer stupid money to hang pictures (. £180 to hang a picture , change a battery in a clock ,,,etc). And there's hundreds of these hospitals up and down the country. ,,, proves to me all the mps don't care about the public or thay wouldn't treat our money like this ,,, sack em all there all useless sponges ,,,, phil kernot
  • Score: 12

6:27pm Mon 16 Jun 14

BuckoTheMoose says...

Not much of a story. When I had the snip earlier this year, the docs thought I was in for something else and had to debate it amongst themselves for a bit before they figured out the mix up.

It was hardly upsetting, but then again, not all of us have subscribed to the modern culture of spinelessness and compensation squeals.
Not much of a story. When I had the snip earlier this year, the docs thought I was in for something else and had to debate it amongst themselves for a bit before they figured out the mix up. It was hardly upsetting, but then again, not all of us have subscribed to the modern culture of spinelessness and compensation squeals. BuckoTheMoose
  • Score: 16

7:10pm Mon 16 Jun 14

East_lancs_lad says...

BOXXOCKS
BOXXOCKS East_lancs_lad
  • Score: 6

10:21pm Mon 16 Jun 14

adamdesk says...

Now days stupid people run to the press after not receiving compensation

This article is not even worth for the news forget headlines

The person didn't even feel embarrassed
Now days stupid people run to the press after not receiving compensation This article is not even worth for the news forget headlines The person didn't even feel embarrassed adamdesk
  • Score: -1

8:17am Tue 17 Jun 14

Nelsonman says...

His wife had died of cancer so to go through that is not nice at all. Sometimes it's not about compensation it's about letting people know how the elht treats people.
His wife had died of cancer so to go through that is not nice at all. Sometimes it's not about compensation it's about letting people know how the elht treats people. Nelsonman
  • Score: 4

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