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Woman’s anxiety over lost hospital records

BASILDON Hospital has apologised to a patient who feared she has cancer after losing her medical notes.

Lesley Arnold, 51, from Rectory Road, Pitsea, was left fearing she may have stomach cancer for six weeks after a “mass” was discovered in her lower abdomen during an ultrasound on January 3.

Mrs Arnold was admitted to the hospital on December 27 suffering with a bad back when a cyst was found on her bladder during an MRI scan.

It was decided to do further investigations with the ultrasound which picked up the mass.

She said: “They told me it could be cancer and I would need to see the gynaecologist. I waited a month for an appointment but before I was due to go they contacted me to cancel it saying they had lost my medical notes. Two weeks later and they still hadn’t turned up. “It was driving me mad and I was worried sick. I am worried it could be cancer and by the time they confirm it it could be too late.”

The hospital reassured that the cysts discovered were not cancerous and if this had been suspected she would have been referred to the oncology department and could have been tested even while the notes were missing. 

The Echo contacted the hospital to comment, and by the afternoon it said it had found her notes locked in a clinical file at Orsett and she could have the appointment on Monday.

A hospital spokeswoman said: “We apologise to Mrs Arnold for the worry and inconvenience caused by her records being temporarily misplaced.

We have offered her an outpatient appointment for early next week. “There are 7,000 sets of patient notes in use in the hospital at any given time. It is very rare for notes to be misplaced, on average, only 0.04 – 0.1 per cent are temporarily missing at any given time. As in the case of Mrs Arnold, they are almost always found in a secure clinical area.”

She added the situation would improve as all files are transferred to an electronic database.

Before they turned up Mrs Arnold had taken to contacting various departments herself to try to track them down so she can be tested.

She said: “I phoned up the records departs, the patient advisory liaison service and anyone else who I think can help but just got passed from pillar from post. I can’t thank the Echo enough because they turned up soon after you contacted them.”

Source: Newsquest Media Group

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