Dying mother 'felt cheated by MRI test delay'
Published 22/11/2012 | 05:00
A DAUGHTER has told how her mother spent her final days agonising over whether the outcome would have been different if she had been diagnosed promptly with ovarian cancer.
The family of the mother from the midlands complained to the Medical Council following her death, alleging that there had been an almost three-month delay in reporting an MRI test result showing a 'suspicious' lump on her ovary.
Colorectal consultant surgeon Paul Neary faces seven allegations of poor professional performance before a fitness-to-practise committee relating to his treatment of the 78-year-old known only as 'Mrs D'.
Among the allegations were that the consultant surgeon, who practises at several hospitals, failed to look for or review the results of an MRI scan before meeting the patient in March 2010.
Mrs D's daughter fought back tears as she told how she felt "helpless" as she broke the news to her mother that the test results she believed were 'norm-al' in fact showed she had cancer.
"My mother felt so cheated," her daughter, who works as a nurse, said. "She kept asking why did Mr Neary not tell me. She agonised about this until the end of her life. She often asked if she was informed of the diagnosis from the outset then perhaps the disease process could have been arrested."
Mr Neary denies the allegations of poor professional performance. Cathal Murphy, for Mr Neary, said the consultant had always accepted an "error" had occurred along the way and robust office management systems had been installed.
Mr Neary's secretary, Lisa Neville, said she never received a fax or any phone message from the radiology department at the Mater Private on January 20 about the MRI findings.
However, a radiologist at the Mater said phone records showed calls had been made.
The woman was seen by Mr Neary on December 17, 2009 with incontinence problems. The consultant arranged five tests, including an MRI scan.
Mrs D's daughter said she could recall Mr Neary telling her mother on March 22, 2010, that all the "tests were normal".
In April, Mrs D's daughter phoned Mr Neary's secretary to get the blood tests results from March, and was shocked when the consultant phoned back to tell her there was "something suspicious on the MRI".
"The whole trust in Dr Neary had suddenly evaporated," she said. Mrs D died on June 22, 2011. The inquiry continues.