A woman has been awarded compensation after a GP dismissed her breast cancer symptoms – as OLD AGE.
Trish Elvy, 53, visited Dr Javier Montero with dimpling on her left breast – but he told her it was just ”the signs of ageing”.
She believed his diagnosis but six months later she became more concerned and contacted a screening clinic.
Staff advised her to return to her doctor who this time took her concerns on board and made a routine referral to a breast care centre – without examining her again.
Scans and a biopsy showed mum-of-one Trish, of Bristol, had a cancerous tumour in her breast.
She had surgery to remove the breast and then six months of chemotherapy and four weeks of radiotherapy.
Trish complained and has now been awarded £500 compensation and received an apology from the surgery.
She said: “‘When he told me the dimple was down to aging it just didn’t make sense.
“Both boobs are the same age and if one was like that due to age, then surely the other should be too.
“When I eventually got to the clinic I told them I had been trying to get her since February they were aghast.”
Despite the failings Dr Montero has not been given an official warning by health regulators.
Trish said: ”The ombudsman found that I had not received the right level of care. The General Medical Council gave exactly the same.
“I thought they were the ones who could give him a warning but they haven’t. It felt like an insult to injury.
“I wanted to make sure this doesn’t happen to other women but he hasn’t got so much as a slap on the wrist.
“I thought he would have got a warning or something. I can’t imagine anybody in any other job getting away with something like this.
“My worry is that other people may not have been as persistent as me. And if I had just waited until the time came round for a routine mammogram – it doesn’t bear thinking about.”
Trish first visited Dr Montero about at Bristol’s Leap Valley Surgery in February 2011.
She returned in August and after he referred her she was screened and she was diagnosed with cancer the next month.
Trish, who works for Bristol Rovers football club, has now made a full recovery but believes there should not have been delays in her care.
The Health Service Ombudsman completed its report into Mrs Elvy’s breast cancer concerns last September.
Deputy director of health investigations Martin Pike concluded: “I find that the practice’s care and treatment of Mrs Elvy fell so far below the applicable standard that it amounted to a service failure.”
He said that Dr Montero did not ”get it right’ because “he failed to adequately assess Mrs Elvy’s condition and refer her for urgent investigation”.
The ombudsman said that the practice should pay Mrs Elvy £500 in compensation in recognition of the worry and distress that she was caused.
But Trish belives they could have gone further and took her complaint to General Medical Council.
The health regulator finalised its report into the matter last month – and ruled the doctor would not be given an official warning.
It found that Dr Montero’s “standard of care fell below the standard expected of a reasonable competent GP” and his handling of Mrs Elvy’s first appointment was “inadequate.”
The GMC concluded that Dr Montero had “clearly reflected on and sought to address the failings evident on this case” and that these failings appeared to be “easily remediable, remedied and unlikely to be repeated”.
But it decided a warning would be “disproportionate”.
A statement from Leap Valley Surgery said: “Dr Montero is sorry that Mrs Elvy had reason to be unhappy with her treatment at the practice, and hopes that the Ombudsman’s investigation and our sincere apology will go some way to helping her put this behind her. Serving the best interests of all our patients is at the forefront of the practice and Dr Montero’s wishes, and when things go wrong we want to be sure we learn and improve for the future.”