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Cancer dad died as his 'doctor failed to have mole checked'

A DOCTOR removed a suspect mole from a man's skin but never sent it for analysis, a medical hearing heard.

Dublin father-of-one William Cashell was diagnosed with skin cancer seven months later and subsequently died.

The 36-year-old from Rush, north Dublin, first sought advice about a mole from Dr Peter Peng-Cheng Ting in February 2007.

The Artane-based medic removed a mole from Mr Cashell's skin but allegedly failed to send a tissue sample for a biopsy.

A fitness to practice hearing of the Irish Medical Council was told yesterday that more than six months later Mr Cashell noticed a lump under his armpit.

He received medical attention in hospital and doctors found that he was suffering from skin cancer.

Dr Peng-Cheng Ting (51), who removed the original mole, appeared before the Medical Council on several charges of professional misconduct.

They included failing to send a tissue sample for a biopsy, failing to take adequate steps to treat his patient or to take a proper history of his condition.

He was also charged with failing to respond to correspondence from the council but conceded he was in a state of denial.

Yesterday, the late Mr Cashell's partner Lorraine Coady, with whom he had a son Jake (7), told the inquiry that he had been a healthy man.

"It was in late January 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. Ms Coady explained that the mole grew in size of a two cent coin and that it had changed colour.

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 Cashel returned the following April with a lump under his arm which was causing him pain. Dr Ting sent him for an x-ray and an ultrasound and wrote him a referral letter to see specialists at Beaumont Hospital but he did not mention that he had removed a mole from his back on a previous occasion.

Mr Cashel was later diagnosed with the skin cancer melanoma, which had spread.

Professor Colin Bradley, an expert medical witness from University College Cork (UCC) told the hearing that it was "absolutely obligatory" that any moles removed from patients be forwarded for testing.

"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.