5th June 2023, Mumbai: A woman from Yeovil, Somerset, Charlie Puplett, has expressed her difficulties in trusting anyone after her GP failed to diagnose her with colon cancer for a year. In May 2019, Puplett initially raised concerns about unexplained weight loss and a lack of appetite with her GP. However, her doctor neglected to test her for colon cancer, and she was only diagnosed nearly a year later, after vomiting blood. The NHS trust involved has been approached for comment, and the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) has stated that her symptoms should have led to urgent testing within two weeks, highlighting the failure of her doctors.
Puplett visited the doctors multiple times, also raising concerns about changes in her bowel habits. She expressed her frustration, stating that the practice continuously dismissed her without listening to her concerns. She saw different doctors during her visits, and one even suggested that she had anorexia and was in denial. The PHSO has emphasized that her symptoms warranted immediate testing and that she was let down by her doctors.
The situation escalated when Puplett experienced a critical moment. After standing outside to applaud NHS workers, she vomited blood. She was promptly taken to the emergency department where she was finally diagnosed with colon cancer. Puplett recalls feeling frightened and repeatedly denying the diagnosis, unable to believe it was true.Due to the delayed treatment, Puplett underwent an emergency operation to remove two-thirds of her colon and had to use a temporary colostomy bag.
The PHSO stated that if she had been referred appropriately, she could have undergone a less invasive keyhole procedure instead of emergency surgery and avoided the need for a colostomy bag. Although she is now in remission, Puplett reveals that she lives in constant fear of developing other life-threatening illnesses.
Puplett emphasizes her desire to prevent others from experiencing a similar situation, stating that she doesn’t want this to happen to anyone else. The ombudsman recommended that the surgery compensate Puplett £2,950 for their failure and implement an action plan to prevent similar incidents in the future. Rob Behrens, the Ombudsman, acknowledges the significant impact the medical negligence has had on Puplett’s life, both physically and emotionally. He stresses the importance of organizations acknowledging mistakes, learning from them, and committing to preventing their recurrence.
The case highlights the devastating consequences that can arise from medical errors and the resulting impact on patients’ lives. Puplett’s experience serves as a reminder of the importance of thorough and attentive care from healthcare professionals. It also underscores the significance of holding organizations accountable for their mistakes and implementing measures to prevent future occurrences.
Article by PRITESH PATEL