Cancer patient misses surgery due to hospital staff ‘miscommunication’

Cancer patient Kathleen Cann
Cancer patient Kathleen Cann

Hospital bosses have apologised after an elderly cancer patient missed her surgery after staff failed to get her ready in time.

Kathleen Cann, 69, was due to have surgery at South Tyneside District Hospital for two melanoma patches on her face, but missed the surgery slot after nurses failed to get her ready in time.

Cancer patient Kathleen Cann

Cancer patient Kathleen Cann

The widower from Maple Street in Jarrow, said she told nurses she needed to be washed and dressed early so she was ready in time for the appointment booked in for 9am on Tuesday, November 22, but instead was still left waiting and missed her slot.

Hospital bosses have since apologised for a “miscommunication” and have arranged a new appointment.

Speaking to the Gazette, she said: “On Monday, November 14, I was in Ward 12 after suffering a fall at home a week before my surgery.

“Everything was smashing there, but on Sunday November 20, they asked if they could move me to Ward 20.
“That following night on Monday November 21, I told the nurses that I was going to need to be up early the next day because I have surgery at 9am the next morning.

Cancer patient Kathleen Cann

Cancer patient Kathleen Cann

“They said that was alright, but it was 9.05am that morning when they finally came to get me ready.

“The porter came at the same time to take me out for the minor surgery which was at the diagnostic centre across from the ward, but the nurse said they couldn’t take me yet as they needed to get me ready.

“You are only allowed to be ten minutes late for surgery or they cancel it, so mine as cancelled for not turning up.

“All they had to do was let me get ready first, but they couldn’t put themselves out, which I think is totally wrong.”

South Tyneside District Hospital.

South Tyneside District Hospital.

Mrs Cann, who was diagnosed back in September, said she had the surgery scheduled weeks ago.

Since her complaint, she has now been offered surgery on Wednesday.

She added: “I woke up at 7am the day of the surgery, so they had ample time.

“I even said the night before and the morning that I needed to be ready.
“I was meant to have had the surgery and be back home by last Wednesday, but instead I had to be sent home waiting on an alternative date.

“I was really upset, as it’s a small thing to get someone ready.
“If they had then I could have had it done, but they couldn’t put themselves out.”

A South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust spokeswoman said: “Our initial investigation indicates that there was some miscommunication between staff which led to Mrs Cann missing her treatment and we apologise for this. 
“As soon as we became aware that her appointment had been missed we contacted her to arrange another for this coming week, which she has accepted.”