Sunday, February 3, 2013

'Dying' grandad's cancer blunder nightmare | The Sun |Scottish News

A GRANDAD who thought he was dying of cancer said a heartbreaking goodbye to his friends and family at a farewell party ? before discovering he NEVER had the disease.

Traumatised Tam Young was too scared to sleep in case he didn?t wake up after being given the devastating diagnosis.

His daughter Laura arranged a wedding anniversary bash for Tam and wife Jean, where their loved ones tearfully said goodbye.

But after three months of agony, it emerged doctors had wrongly diagnosed liver cancer ? then failed to tell him about the blunder.

Tam, 58, from Perth, said: ?The worry this has caused has been unbelievable. I?m still scared to go to sleep at night. I still think I might be dying because why would someone get it so wrong if they?re meant to be an expert?

?It?s an extremely hard thing to deal with to be told you are dying and then told it was all a mistake.

?Not knowing if I was ever going to see my four-year-old grandson Max again or my daughter or my wife was just terrible.

?My daughter even gave me a party. She was devastated. She was thinking it would be the last time people would see me.

?It was mine and Jean?s wedding anniversary as well so Laura felt she had to do something as everyone thought it would be our last.

Tam Young and wife Jean

Ordeal ... couple plan to sue health chiefs

?At the party people were saying goodbye to me thinking it was the last time they would see me. It was so upsetting. To then find out all the suffering was for nothing is very hard to take.?

Wife Jean, 54, added: ?The anniversary party doubled up as a farewell bash for Tam and it was a really sad affair. People had come from all over to be there.

?A song close to our hearts, Daydream Believer by The Monkees, was played and everyone was in tears. No one should have to go through that, particularly when it was all avoidable.?

The family?s nightmare began in June last year when Tam was sent for an ultrasound scan at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee after he felt unwell.

A doctor thought there was something ?sinister? in the results and arranged for more tests to be carried out at Perth Royal Infirmary.

After further scans a consultant told Jean that Tam had a ?very aggressive? tumour in his liver and had just two months to live.

And a junior doctor on the ward confirmed this diagnosis to Tam on his 58th birthday.

The couple claim they were then sent home and told that Tam would receive palliative care when his condition worsened. But unknown to the family, the scans were sent for further examination and senior doctors were made aware weeks later in July that Tam did not have cancer but was instead suffering from Caroli Disease ? a non life-threatening condition affecting the bile ducts.

Tam Young and wife Jean

Emotional ... Tam and wife Jean during their anniversary party

Unbelievably, no one told the family and they only found out by chance when a GP was called to the house in October after Tam suffered chest pains.

Jean ? who is Tam?s full-time carer after he suffered a stroke in 1997 ? said: ?When we first got home after the diagnosis our family and friends from as far afield as England and Inverness all came to see us and everyone was in a state. It was a total nightmare, we were all stressed to the hilt.

?We were just waiting on Tam getting not well, but nothing was happening. Then at the start of October Tam said he was getting really bad pains in his chest and my daughter was panicking, saying ?That?s it started, that?s it started?.

?So I called our GP and she came out and said she thought Tam had ruptured himself trying to get up on the bed.

?I told her he had an aggressive tumour but she said it was actually Caroli Disease that he had. I said ?yes, but he?s dying? and she said ?no he?s not, not any time soon anyway?.

?How did she know that and we didn?t? Why was it up to a GP to tell us?

?She obviously had that information in the reports that had been sent to her from the hospital.

?But why didn?t the hospital tell us? If I hadn?t phoned the GP that day when would we have known? Would we still be waiting now?? The consultant has said sorry to the couple and NHS Tayside have ?apologised unreservedly? for the delay in passing on the information. But Jean and Tam don?t think their plight has been taken seriously enough and are set to take legal action against health chiefs.

Jean added: ?When we met the consultant he was profoundly sorry and said the initial scan had suggested it was cancer. He said it was probable.

?But I said he should surely have done more tests before delivering news like that. He then said he could only apologise. If something?s probable it?s not definite yet we were told in definitive terms that Tam was dying.

?This could have been cleared up in the first couple of weeks if they?d let us know ? but instead we were just sent home with no support and left to get on with it.

?We?re going to take legal advice because of the impact this has had on our lives. Tam hasn?t been the same since the diagnosis. His moods have changed and he?s got no get up and go.?

Tam added: ?I was given a death sentence and the uncertainty of not knowing when it was going to happen was just awful. It?s still on my mind 24 hours a day that I might be dying. Most people who are told they don?t have cancer are happy, but I?m angry because I never had it in the first place and my family and I shouldn?t have been put through this mental torment.?

A spokeswoman for NHS Tayside said: ?We have apologised to Mr Young and his family for the delay in communicating the correct diagnosis to him. The doctor involved has also met with the family and given his personal apologies.?


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