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Father died five months after having lung removed for cancer

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Father died five months after having lung removed for cancer which he NEVER had

By Paul Sims

Last updated at 10:20 PM on 04th June 2008

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A father of four died after doctors wrongly diagnosed him with cancer and removed a healthy lung in an attempt to prolong his life.

John Turner, 61, was told it was possible to extend his life by three years if he agreed to have his 'diseased' right lung removed.

He consented but never fully recovered and died five months later in a hospice.

Lung wrongly removed: John Turner with his wife, now widow, Margaret

Before his death, a biopsy on the supposedly cancerous lung revealed there was nothing wrong with it. Doctors kept the results from him and his family until after his death, an inquest was told yesterday.

Last night the shipyard welder's widow, Margaret, said she was planning legal action. 'Our whole family has been ripped apart and let down by this system,' she said.

Mr Turner contacted his GP in the summer of 2006 complaining of chest pains and weight loss.

He was referred to Furness General Hospital in Cumbria. Mohtassim Al- Jlbury, a consultant at Furness General, told the hearing at Barrow Town Hall he suspected Mr Turner had asbestosis, a non- cancerous chronic lung illness.

He added: 'Further tests showed mesothelioma (a type of cancer linked to asbestos) was seen but not conclusive. He was sent to Blackpool for further tests.

Misdiagnosis: Doctors at Furness General Hospital told MrTurner he had cancer

The results confirmed mesothelioma and I agreed he would be a good candidate for surgery as his left lung was okay.'

But Dr James Johnson, consultant pathologist at Blackpool Royal Victoria, claimed his report was misinterpreted.

He said: 'I thought it was likely it was (mesothelioma) as I had seen similar cases. Someone misinterpreted what I said.

'I said it was consistent with, not that they had it. I won't be using that term again.'

Mr Turner was sent for surgery in Leicester. Thoracic surgeon David Waller said had he seen the original pathology report he would have asked for more tests before proceeding with the operation.

Deputy Coroner Alan Sharpe said: 'I have heard the full effect a lack of communication between doctors can have.

'With regard to the verdict, I have decided to give a narrative one due to the complexities of the case. On balance I cannot give a verdict of misadventure. The operation was unnecessary according to Mr Waller, but we don't have evidence it led to his death.'

Mr Turner died from bronchial pneumonia, contributed to by the operation and asbestosis.

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