Peter Filipovic, 62, died in the summer of 2012 after avoidable delays in his treatment when King’s College Hospital, London, failed to act on information from another NHS Trust.
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) said that King’s College Hospital “failed to act quickly enough” following Mr Filipovic’s referral from Medway Maritime Hospital.
In 2011 Mr Filipovic was referred to King’s College Hospital with suspected pancreatic cancer after doctors at the Medway Maritime Hospital found a small tumour on his pancreas.
Following the referral, doctors at King’s dismissed the cancer diagnosis and investigated Mr Filipovic for other possible problems.
His wife Jean, 65, told the BBC that doctors at King’s told the family that Peter did not have cancer.
By the time doctors at the London hospital said he had cancer, several months had passed and Mr Filipovic had lost six stone, was suffering from jaundice and was unable to walk.
At this point Mrs Filipovic said he was too weak to undergo the operation and the cancer had progressed to a point where it was too late to start chemotherapy.
Mrs Filipovic complained to the ombudsman saying: “We understand that pancreatic cancer is a killer but King’s didn’t even give him a chance.”
The PHSO said that the outcome may have been the same even if King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust had been quicker with its investigations of Mr Filipovic.
However, PHSO found that the family had been given “confusing and contradictory” information and the trust did not handle their complaint in the correct manner.
King’s have apologised for the failings, and the impact they have had on Mrs Filipovic, and recognised that they denied her husband “the opportunity to be given the best chance of survival.”
In addition to Mr Filipovic’s case the PHSO investigated several other incidents across several NHS Foundation Trusts where failings happened. These included:
The failure to carry out a scan that may have saved a baby’s life in the late stages of pregnancy, and a lack of compassion and care towards the mother during the subsequent stillbirth of her child within Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Trust.
Another case highlighted was a man who lost his sight following “significant failings” by an Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust ophthalmologist following post-operation complications.
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