Coventry mum faces shortened lifespan following NHS failures to diagnose cancer - The Coventry Observer

19th Aug, 2022

Coventry mum faces shortened lifespan following NHS failures to diagnose cancer

A COVENTRY mum faces a shortened lifespan following NHS failures to diagnose her cancer.

Linda Lindley first raised concern about her health when suffering from breathlessness in 2007.

The mother of two was prescribed an inhaler – and later that year slipped a disc in her neck and attended University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire for an MRI scan.

Although the scan was for her neck, it showed visible signs of lung cancer.

But this was not reported and Linda received no diagnosis.

Had she received treatment for lung cancer at this time, Linda would not have required invasive surgery nor chemotherapy and would now be cured.

The 52-year-old was still suffering from breathlessness in 2009, and was diagnosed with bronchitis.

Two years later, Linda was referred to a respiratory doctor. Despite having a second scan, her lung cancer was still not diagnosed.

She was later told the the cancerous nodule in her lung was consistent with fat.

Linda said being told her lung was full of fat made her choose to join the gym.

She added: “I struggled with my breathing on the exercise bike and treadmill.

“Five years ago I went on holiday and there were quite a few flights of stairs to get back to our apartment – the rest of the family had reached the top and I was still at the bottom.

“My sister and daughter had to help me climb the stairs.”

When returning from her holiday in December 2012, Linda went back to see her consultant – though felt worried she was making a fuss.

She was referred to a joint respiratory and rheumatology clinic who ordered another scan as they thought she might have a pulmonary embolism.

Following the scan result, an urgent referral was made to the lung multidisciplinary team due to the presence of a suspicious nodule.

Linda then had a third of her right lung removed and 11 lymph nodes from her chest wall.

She started chemotherapy, but this soon ended due to kidney damage.

Following her own research, Linda went to see a private doctor in Harley Street, London, who told her about Iressa – a targeted therapy drug to keep the cancer under control and to stop it recurring.

The NHS later prescribed the drug following a further scan which indicated suspicious nodules.

A wife to Nigel and mum to Scott and Elysia, Linda has had to take early medical retirement and can no longer care for her blind 77-year-old mum.

She said: “I am angry and bitter but I can forgive. I am not a horrid person. I have to stay strong, I have children.

“I can’t even look after myself. I have to have someone come and do my cleaning now.

“I’d like to see my daughter graduate, both of them married and see my grandchildren.

“Whether that will happen in my lifetime – probably not. But I have to stay positive.

“I have accepted it has shortened my life.”

Professor Meghana Pandit, chief medical officer and deputy chief executive officer at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, said: “We apologise unreservedly for the delay in diagnosing Mrs Lindley’s condition.

“While a verbal apology was given to Mrs Lindley, I am also very sorry for the delay in sending our written apology.

“This matter has been a serious incident for the Trust and we have reviewed and changed practice to ensure that, in so far as possible, this does not happen again.

“I fully understand that this may be of little consolation to Mrs Lindley and her family, who have had to shoulder the full brunt of this tragic error.

“Nevertheless, I hope this will offer her some small comfort.”

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