Great-grandfather, 85, ‘misdiagnosed’ with cancer which turned out to be a garden PEA

April 22, 2013 | by | 1 Comment
William Lintern died after doctors thought a pea stuck in his lungs was cancer

William Lintern died after doctors thought a pea stuck in his lungs was cancer

A grieving widow is preparing to sue the NHS claiming bungling doctors misdiagnosed her late husband with cancer – which turned out to be a PEA lodged in his lung.

William Lintern, 85, spent ten days in hospital after being told a CT scan had revealed a tumour in his right lung which was inoperable.

A more extensive test revealed the lump was in fact a garden pea which Mr Lintern had inhaled and doctors discovered he was actually suffering from pneumonia.

But by the time he was treated for the condition it was too late and he died in hospital on the day of his 85th birthday.

His family have blasted NHS chiefs, claiming Mr Lintern, who had two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, would still be alive today if they had diagnosed him correctly.

His devastated widow Molly, 79, said: “The doctors told William he had got a tumour on his lung.

“He was scared rigid and basically worried himself to death.

“He wouldn’t look at me. I never had any eye contact with him, he was finished.

“When I washed him, he put his head in his hands.

“He wouldn’t look at me and there was no conversation.

William and Molly Lintern celebrating their son Roger's 50th Birthday in 2006

William and Molly Lintern celebrating their son Roger’s 50th Birthday in 2006

“The doctors finally said a test revealed he didn’t have cancer and the lump was actually a garden pea and his breathlessness had been a result of him suffering from pneumonia.

“William was told the news but it was too late, his body had already given up and the treatment didn’t make any difference.

“If they had treated him when he first came in for pneumonia and not wasted time testing for cancer he would probably still be here today.

“I know he was 85 and he was a quiet man but he was active.

“It is unfair and he didn’t deserve that at all. He was a good man.”

Mr Lintern, a retired toolmaker from Sheldon, West Mids., was taken to Solihull Hospital A&E on January 19 after he developed breathing problems.

On January 22 he had a CT scan and doctors told him he had a suspected tumour in his lung and three days later he was transferred to Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham.

Doctors at Heartlands carried out a bronchoscopy on January 29 which revealed the tumour was in fact a pea.

Medics also discovered he was suffering from pneumonia but despite being given drugs for the condition it was too late to save him and he died on February 6.

Mr Lintern’s only child Roger, 56, said the family were considering taking legal action against the NHS Trust.

Roger, an engineer, said: “I can’t believe that they thought a pea on my dad’s lung was cancer.

“They then failed to spot he had pneumonia until ten days after he was taken into hospital.

“I am certain he would have been alive today had they found out he had the virus much earlier and treated him correctly in the first place.

“When my dad was told he had cancer, he lost the will to live.

“His body started to pack up and he was convinced he wouldn’t survive.

“But all along, it was just a pea stuck in his right lung.

“By the time they had found out what it was, his body couldn’t take it. It was too late.”

Dad-of-two Roger, who lives with wife Linda, 52, in Solihull, West Mids., added: “When I asked about the tumour the doctor said that there was no trace of any cancer when they carried out the bronchoscopy but they did find a garden pea.

“The doctor then apologised for the diagnosis we were given at Solihull and said they would try everything to clear up his chest infection.

“They even showed us a picture of the pea that had been removed during the procedure.

“There was an improvement in my dad’s condition, and we were all quite upbeat.

“But sadly in the early hours of the next day he died on his birthday. We were all devastated.

“He was independent, he bought a brand new car at Christmas and was still driving it around.

“He never had a day off work ill all his life and he worked until he was 62.”

Roger has lodged a complaint with Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust which has launched an investigation into his care.

Dr Aresh Anwar, Heartlands Hospital medical director, said: “The safety and care of all our patients is a priority for our doctors and nurses and if there is a case where we have not delivered the best care possible, we will always investigate why and how we can do things better.”

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Comments (1)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    While clearly an avoidable and terrible mistake to have made, I don’t think suing an already struggling NHS is going to help anyone…

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