Woman wrongly told she had 6 months to live

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Doctors told a woman she had just six months to live after being wrongly diagnosed with metastatic cancer.

As reported by the news site Philenews, due to a medical mix-up, a 40-year-old woman was given the biopsy results of another patient.

Given just six months to live, the woman underwent a cycle of chemotherapy before a check of the biopsy sample determined that there had been a mix-up.

The case surfaced following a letter from the complainant, sent through her lawyer Theodoulos Papavasiliou, to the management of Nicosia General Hospital and the Bank of Cyprus (BoC) oncology centre.

The woman’s lawyer requested authorities to provide answers about the mix-up, which has caused psychological trauma to the woman and her family.

She was referred to the BoC oncology centre to have a sample taken for biopsy, which was sent to the laboratory at Nicosia General.

Results three weeks later showed that she had metastatic cancer.

The woman had then expressed her reservations over the result but followed instructions commencing a cycle of chemotherapy she didn’t need.

Suspicious, she later requested a DNA test of the sample, which had allegedly been hers, revealing that it did not belong to her but another unknown person.

The lawyer said the serious medical mix-up had caused tremendous anguish to the woman, and her family, who all required support from mental health services for the past four months.

The complainant also requests information on the employee who took the biopsy sample and the staff responsible for the mistake.

The letter also raised the question of the patient’s identity from whom the sample was taken and whether they had been informed and received the appropriate treatment.

Responding to the claims, the oncology centre said that upon learning of the patient’s letter, it immediately investigated to verify the data.

“Without underestimating the disruption caused, we want to reassure patients and their families that we treat these allegations with the utmost sensitivity and diligence.

“Our main goal, since the beginning of the centre’s operation 25 years ago, has been, and remains, the provision of high-level care to our patients, which is being realised.

“As soon as the internal investigation is concluded, all directly involved will be informed,” the centre said.