A mum-of-two has received a pay-out from the NHS after bungling medics repeatedly misdiagnosed her lung cancer over a TEN YEAR period.
Linda Lindley, 52, has been told she may have just months to live after the deadly disease was dismissed by medics on four different occasions.
Heartbreakingly, she could have be cured if doctors had spotted the cancer when she first complained of breathlessness in 2007.
But she was told there was nothing wrong and was just given an inhaler to ease her breathing before being sent on her way.
Linda was misdiagnosed four more times at University Hospital Coventry before doctors finally found the cancer after Linda was unable to walk up hills on holiday in 2012.
But the NHS initially refused to put her on special medication, Iressa, because they did not think the tumour had spread.
Eventually another scan revealed it had spread and she was given the drug in 2013.
However, she has now been told it could stop working at any moment at which point Linda will have just months left to live.
Today she said: “I’ve been told that the tablet I’m on will eventually stop working.
“I know people who were on it the same time as me and it has stopped working for them already.”
The finance officer has also been forced to retire and can no longer care for her blind 77-year-old mother.
Linda, who lives with husband Nigel, 54,and has two children, Scott, 29, and Elysia, 21, added: “I loved my job. I am angry and bitter but I can forgive.
“I am not a horrid person. I have to stay strong, I have children.
“I can’t even look after myself. I have to have someone come and do my cleaning now.
“I’d like to see my daughter graduate, both of them married and see my grandchildren.
“Whether that will happen in my lifetime, probably not, but I have to stay positive.
“I have accepted it has shortened my life.”
Linda first experienced breathlessness in 2007, but it was dismissed and she was given an inhaler.
Even after an MRI scan following a slipped disk in her neck showed visible signs of the tumour later that year, it went unreported.
Linda, of Coventry, West Mids., complained again of breathlessness in 2009 where it was misdiagnosed as bronchitis.
Two years later she was referred to a respiratory doctor who performed a scan, but still failed to diagnose the cancer.
When the symptoms didn’t go away another doctor’s scan dismissed the tumour as a fatty node – prompting Linda to start exercising.
But she was referred to a joint respiratory and rheumatology clinic when she struggled to climb stairs on holiday in 2012.
She said: “Walking back to the apartment there were quite a few flights of stairs. All the boys were at the top and I was still struggling at the very bottom.
“My sister was having to help me up the stairs”.
When she returned doctors ordered another scan – for a suspected pulmonary embolism.
Finally, following the result she was urgently referred to the Lung Multidisciplinary Team because of a “suspicious node” in January 2013.
Surgeons removed one third of her right lung and 11 lymph nodes from her chest wall and Linda began a chemotherapy course.
But doctors called off the treatment due to damage to her kidneys.
Incredibly, Linda then was forced to do her own research and went to see a private doctor on Harley Street, London, who recommended she take Iressa.
The targeted therapy drug would keep her cancer under control – but the NHS initially refused to give it to her, saying it was only for multiple tumours.
Finally, after another scan doctors discovered more suspicious nodules in her lung and paid for the treatment.
University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust has since apologised for its delays in treatment.
Linda has now won a medical negligence claim with Lime solicitors and plans to use her payout to adapt her home and help pay for her ongoing care.
Her solicitor Neil Clayton, said: “Linda’s story is a tragic case; a terrible mistake made not once but twice, which has had a catastrophic effect on Linda and her family.”
Professor Meghana Pandit, CEO of the NHS Trust, said: “We apologise unreservedly for the delay in diagnosing Mrs Lindley’s condition.
“While a verbal apology was given to Mrs Lindley, I am also very sorry for the delay in sending our written apology.
“This matter has been a serious incident for the Trust and we have reviewed and changed practice to ensure that, in so far as possible, this does not happen again.
“I fully understand that this may be of little consolation to Mrs Lindley and her family, who have had to shoulder the full brunt of this tragic error.
“Nevertheless, I hope this will offer her some small comfort.”