Friday 15 December 2017

Father died after GP 'failed to get cancer tests on mole'

Mark Hilliard

A YOUNG father died of skin cancer 15 months after having a mole removed that his GP never had checked for the disease, a medical hearing heard yesterday.

William Cashell (36), from Rush, north Dublin, had the mole removed by his GP in February 2007 because it felt uncomfortable.

But in September that year he was diagnosed with skin cancer after going to hospital with a lump under his armpit.

Mr Cashell died in May 2008.

Yesterday, at a fitness-to-practise hearing of the Irish Medical Council (IMC), Mr Cashell's GP appeared on several charges of professional misconduct including failing to send a tissue sample for a biopsy and failing to take adequate steps to treat his patient or to take a proper history of his condition.

Dr Peter Peng-Cheng Ting (51), who is based in Artane, Co Dublin, was also charged with failing to respond to correspondence from the IMC but conceded he was in a state of denial and did not wish to deal with the matter.


Yesterday, Lorraine Coady -- the partner of the deceased and mother of his son, Jake (7) -- told the hearing that Mr Cashell had been fit and healthy.

"It was in late January (2007) that he was complaining of this mole in his back; anytime he sat back in the couch or his clothes rubbed off it, it was sore. It started getting itchy," she said.

She explained that it grew to about the size of a two cent coin and that it had changed in colour.

"It started getting itchy and it was like it started coming away from his skin," she said.

Dr Ting, who studied at the Royal College of Surgeons and who qualified in 1994, admitted that he kept no notes of the procedure.

Mr Cashell returned in April 2007 with a lump under his arm, which had been causing him pain. Dr Ting sent him for an X-ray and an ultrasound and referred him to specialists at Beaumont Hospital -- but the doctor failed to mention that he had removed a mole from his patient's back on a previous occasion. Although an appointment was fixed for August 2007, Mr Cashell returned to his GP's surgery and complained of increasing pain, pointing out that the lump was growing all the time.

Dr Ting wrote to the hospital requesting that the appointment be brought forward given his patient's discomfort -- but the council heard that he did not stress the potential seriousness of the situation.

Professor Colin Bradley, from University College Cork, told the hearing that it was "absolutely obligatory" that removed moles are sent for testing.

"Obviously there is the potential there for the two (conditions) to be related in a sinister way," he said.

"There is a note at the top of the letter (from Dr Ting to Beaumont medical staff) for an urgent appointment but the letter doesn't make the case that there was an urgent matter."

The hearing continues.

Irish Independent

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