Tuesday 21 October 2014

Fatal cancer 'undiagnosed for a year'

Gareth Naughton

Published 30/08/2014 | 02:30

Maureen Desmond

A WOMAN'S cancer was not diagnosed until a year after she underwent a scan which could have highlighted the presence of the disease, an inquest heard.

Maureen Desmond (74) died at the Mater Hospital in September 2011 from complications linked to an aggressive form of cancer in the uterus.

The cancer was diagnosed in July 2010, but an inquest heard there was evidence she had developed metastatic cancer on a scan taken in 2009.

However, this was not diagnosed as the radiologist was asked to evaluate the colon, Dublin Coroner's Court heard.

Consultant radiologist at the Mater Hospital, Dr Michelle McNicholas, said she was not disputing that there was evidence of cancer on the colonogram.

She said that the clinical indication was for rectal bleed and she was focused on finding the cause of this. "All I have to go on is the information that is given to me," she said.

The inquest heard that as far back as 2007 there was evidence of thickening and distension in the endometrium, in the uterus.

Dr Arthur Grey, a consultant radiologist from the Musgrave Park Hospital in Belfast, invited to re-examine the radiology scans by Dublin coroner Dr Brian Farrell, said that there could be several reasons for this.

Mrs Desmond, of Willow Park Crescent in Glasnevin, Dublin, underwent a hysteroscopy at the Mater Hospital in August 2008 which found no abnormalities.

In June 2009, she underwent a CT colonogram. Dr Grey said that abnormalities were less conspicuous because of the image technique used, but there was evidence of "small volume metastatic disease".

Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at the Musgrave Park Hospital, Dr John Price, was also asked to review the case.

He said the type of cancer she had developed had a "very poor prognosis".

It was likely that Mrs Desmond had already developed an endometrial cancer at the time of her first presentation but that her care at the time was "appropriate and standard care pathways were followed".

However, he said that in his opinion her presentation was unusual, and she should have been given a review appointment for six months afterwards.

The inquest continues.

Irish Independent

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