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Care home worker wrongly diagnosed with cancer ‘thought it was a cruel joke’

A care home worker wrongly diagnosed with cancer says she thought it was a “cruel joke” when she was told there had been a mistake.

Mum-of-four Janice Johnston said her “world crumbled” when she learned she had a rare form of blood cancer at Kent and Canterbury Hospital in 2017.

After her diagnosis she endured 18 months of oral chemotherapy treatment, during which she was said to have experienced weight loss, nausea and bone pain, to the extent that she gave up her job as a nurse.

When the treatment did not appear to be working, medics reportedly increased the dosage and in 2018 she sought alternative treatment at Guy’s Hospital in London, the BBC reports.

It was there that a specialist told her she did not have cancer at all but a different condition.

Mrs Johnston, 53, told the BBC : “The cancer diagnosis was an absolute shock. They said my life span would be shortened.

A spokesperson for East Kent Hospitals said misdiagnoses were rare and apologised

“I was at high risk of a fatal stroke or heart attack and I could drop down at any minute. It was heartbreaking and devastating.

“It didn’t sink in until I saw the haematologist. I was in a room with people having serious chemotherapy who looked incredibly ill. I thought: ‘I’m like them’.”

Mrs Johnston said doctors told her she would need chemotherapy for life and the side-effects led to her feeling “wiped out”, her hair thinning, her teeth becoming loose and her gums receding.

It was reported that doctors told Mrs Johnston that she had a condition called secondary PV, which is not cancer.

She has since been awarded £75,950 in damages after East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust admitted liability.

Staff at the hospital were said to have failed to do the necessary ultrasound scan and bone marrow biopsy before diagnosing her.

Now she is said to suffer with severe anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as experiencing flashbacks.

A spokesperson for East Kent Hospitals was reported to have said: “A misdiagnosis of this kind is exceptionally rare and we wholeheartedly apologise to Ms Johnston.”


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