Health bosses apologise for failing to spot bowel disease


A MAN suffering from bowel disease who had to undergo an emergency operation has received an apology from health bosses who failed to spot his condition.

In a report issued by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) the man, named only as Mr A, was subjected to an “avoidable delay” in investigating and diagnosing him.

The 57-year-old patient from the Borders wasn’t admitted to hospital for nearly three months since his original concerns were made to a GP.

Doctors failed to spot the signs for Mr A's bowel disease

He had to have repairs made to his bladder, have part of his bowel removed and is now hooked up to a colostomy bag.

An SPSO advisor said Mr A was left confused and expressed “particular concern” when an ultrasound scan on a suspected hernia did not prompt an urgent medical assessment.

Mr A, who lost more than two stone in weight, had a history of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) first visited a GP on 29 December 2010.

Two months later Mr A then reported a pain in his groin on 17 February
2011 – the GP then carried out an examination in this area but not his abdomen.

Less than a week later on February 21 the anonymous IBS sufferer was in such a state of agony he was “hardly able to move” – despite this though the GP said they would hold off further tests and only “review if symptoms persist”.

Mr A wasn’t admitted to hospital until March 4 and within on hour of an ultrasound bladder scan he was being prepared for surgery having been diagnosed with diverticular disease.

SPSO Jim Martin said: “The adviser stated that admission to the hospital on February 28 would have been entirely reasonable and logical.

“He said that given symptoms presented he could see no rationale for the decision to wait several days for the scan results.”

Mr A had to have an abscess drained, repairs done to his bladder, a section of his bowel removed and was finally discharged from a two-week hospital stay with a stoma bag.

Mr Martin added: “The adviser said it was his view that the practice should have investigated Mr A’s claims more thoroughly.

“The adviser said he would expect abdominal and rectal examination findings to have been recorder in a man in his 50s with chronic bowel symptoms and weight loss, even if a history of IBS was known.

The report also said that they fail to comprehend why doctors could not put the pieces together and diagnose the condition.

Mr Martin continued: “The adviser stated that it was a particular concern that Mr A’s changing symptoms in February were not placed together in context.

A written apology was recommended in the report along with a significant event to be carried out which was accepted by the medical practice.

Jane Davidson, chief operating officer for NHS Borders, said: “We have raised these issues directly with the practice and have been assured that the recommendations in the report will be followed through.”


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