A GRANDMOTHER said ‘goodbye’ to her family after being told she needed a cancer operation – only for doctors at Royal Blackburn Hospital to discover she had been misdiagnosed moments before surgery.

Sandra Lord was left heartbroken last month when a pain in her stomach was diagnosed as bowel cancer following a scan at the hospital on April 16.


The 69-year-old was due to have part of her bowel removed when she went under the knife at the hospital on Tuesday.

But when the surgery team performed a colonoscopy before the operation they discovered that what they thought was a lump on the bowel was actually caused by an inflamed appendix rubbing against the bowel.

Having been told she was due to stay in for seven to 10 days, Mrs Lord, from Waterfoot, woke up from the operation just two hours after she was given an epidural and was told it had all been a big mistake.

She said: “It’s obviously a relief that I haven’t got cancer but I shouldn’t have had to go through that. It’s been a living hell for a month.

“The thought of never seeing my daughter and my grandchildren again was killing me. I’ve spent a month with my life on hold, I was breaking down in tears every day at the thought of it.”

Having been to see her GP on April 14, Mrs Lord was admitted to hospital and underwent a scan two days later.

“I didn’t get the results until Friday and they told me while I was on my own,” she said. “I then had to ring my husband and my daughter and tell them I had cancer.

“Over the weekend the pain calmed down, and I don’t understand why they didn’t do a biopsy or a colonoscopy on the Monday to make sure.

“It is beyond belief they could misdiagnose something like this.”

Having told her husband, 72-year-old Alec, Mrs Lord then had to break the news to her daughter, 34-year-old Becky Wharton, who lives in Haslingden and works in Clayton-le-Moors, and her two children, 13-year-old Dylan and 11-year-old Caitlan.

Mrs Lord said: “I didn’t want to lie to the children, I thought it was better to tell them the truth. But it really upset them, it’s a horrible thing to have to deal with.”

Mrs Lord was told about the dangers of the operation, including the possibility her bowel could leak, causing an infection and meaning she might have to spend time in intensive care, or possibly even die.

“I had to deal with the fact I might go in to hospital and not come out,” she said. “I might never see my family again.

“Becky’s birthday is on May 27 but I had already given her a card and present in case I didn’t make it.

“I spoke to her husband Steven and her mother-in-law and asked them to look after her if I wasn’t around.”

After being told it wasn’t cancer after all, Mrs Lord was back at home shortly after 1pm on Tuesday.

She said: “I woke up and didn’t feel any pain and I thought ‘those drugs must have been good’. Then they told me it had never been cancer.

“I didn’t even get an apology at the hospital. My family has spent a month worried sick about this, and they don’t even say sorry.

“I’ve lost six pounds in weight in a month. I suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and because of the treatment and antibiotics I was on I had to stop the injections to help with that, so I’ve been in agony for a month with it.

“It’s a relief to not have cancer, but I should never have had to go through this. I need a good holiday now.”

Mrs Wharton said: “I couldn’t believe it when my mum rang me and told me what had happened.

“I’d had to say goodbye to my mum knowing I might never see her again, and the children had to do the same.

“It’s horrendous that the children have had to go through something like this.

“I’m so angry that the hospital could have got something like this so wrong.”

Dr Ian Stanley, acting medical director at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Patient confidentiality prevents us from discussing individual cases, but we aim to deliver safe, personal and effective care at all times, and treat patients with compassion and respect.

“We would urge Mrs Lord to contact us as soon as possible so she can raise any issues she may have directly with the Trust.”