Pensioner 'sent home by doctors with paracetamol' dies of skin cancer
- Mirror 13th Aug 2019 14:08:23 GMT +0300
A pensioner has died after claiming doctors sent him home with just paracetamol after a nasty fall left him with a bump on his head - that grew to the size of an orange.
George Hobbs was placed on the list for urgent surgery after a specialist finally diagnosed the black horn-like growth was actually skin cancer - that had been sprouting out of the top of his head for nine months.
The 89-year-old was taken to hospital after a nasty fall on the day of his wife's funeral last August, but when the cut on his head was healing, the huge growth developed.
George ignored the swelling lump until February, when the pain became so much he went to his GP, who sent him home with paracetamol, despite having a black, egg-sized lump on his scalp.
The retired civil servant's GP surgery sent him home with painkillers three times before he was finally referred to a hospital.
He died on July 25 and his grieving daughter Clare Hobbs, 32, now wants to know why he was never prescribed medication and why it took medics so long to help her father.
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She said: "There have been failures on a lot of people's parts.
"Towards the end he'd spend a lot of time lying down as that's when it was at its least painful.
"He hardly went out because he was embarrassed.
"He filed all his documents and when I went through them after his death I found a note which read 'please help me it's so painful'. That was heartbreaking.
"I just want someone to take responsibility. He was miserable and he did not deserve that."
In May, George, from Gillingham, Kent, said he went to his local doctors, twice before he was sent to a specialist.
He said: "I saw a different doctor the second time and they took one look at it and told me it was too bad for them to deal with.
"The next I knew I had a call from the plastic surgery department at Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead."
He slipped in his daughter's bathroom last August and cut his head open, and after patching him up, doctors sent him home.
The wound gradually grew in size, and when he eventually went to the doctor it was the size of an egg and growing.
After the doctor sent him home with painkillers, he said, he tried to deal with it as best he could, but the lump kept getting larger and more painful.
He claimed the advice was repeated at two further visits until a new doctor sent him to see dermatology experts at the Community Living Health Centre in Gillingham, who referred him to Queen Victoria Hospital.
The hospital arranged for Mr Hobbs to see a specialist during a weekly visit to Medway Maritime Hospital.
The grandfather-of-three said he was later told by a specialist that he urgently needed to go under the knife.
Earlier this year, he said: "I'm furious that they didn't take this seriously to start with. It's really causing me a lot of discomfort.
"The specialist at Medway told me I should never have been told to take paracetamol for it.
"They were amazed it had been allowed to get this bad and said I should have been sent to them immediately."
George, who had also been recovering from bladder cancer, was worried about going under the knife again.
He added: "They're worried because it's not clear how deep it goes.
"They say if it's grown upwards they should be able to remove it but if it's grown downwards it's more serious.
"I really am very apprehensive and haven't been able to sleep very well.
"They say they should be able to see me at East Grinstead in the next week."
After a number of rearranged appointments, an operation was eventually scheduled for July 5.
But after being sick on the journey to East Grinstead's Queen Victoria Hospital, which provides specialist skin cancer care, he was sent home.
Speaking a week before his death, Mr Hobbs said he was having to sleep on a folded towel as the mass was bleeding.
A complaint Mr Hobbs made to Medway Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS England isstill being investigated.
Director of primary care transformation Tracy Rouse: "We are sorry to hear of Mr Hobbs' death."
She added NHS England was looking into concerns raised.
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