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12 July 2016

Cancer patient given double the amount of radiation by inexperienced staff

A patient receiving treatment for a rare type of bone marrow cancer was mistakenly given twice the amount of radiation required for their therapy.

Two inexperienced radiographers at Edinburgh Cancer Centre (operating from the Western General Hospital) had incorrectly measured the amount of radiation necessary for the unnamed patient. An internal report revealed the treatment, given in September 2015, was "100% greater than the intended dose".

After the mistake was only identified 11 days after the procedure had taken place, NHS Lothian "sincerely apologised" to the patient and family involved while going on to admit "a number of mistakes" were made throughout the process.

The severity of the incident exceeds a comparable case in 2006, when a 15-year-old girl was given a 58% overdose during a similar procedure. Lisa Norris died eight months later and while her cause of death was given as cancer, her parents believed the excessive radiation killed their daughter.

Dr Arthur Johnston was appointed to investigate both cases by Scottish ministers. He said: "In both instances, the extent of the overexposure to ionising radiation was such that there was a significant possibility of serious harm to the patient undergoing radiotherapy".

Longden Walker & Renney are experienced in dealing with radiology malpractice. We helped a client get £4,250 in compensation after medical negligence.

If you believe that you or someone you know could be entitled to make a claim for medical negligence in a case originating in England or Wales, then please contact us on 0191 5666 500 or complete our contact form and one of our specialists will be in touch when it's convenient for you.