Father-of-two about to be wheeled in for cancer op told he was given all-clear EIGHT MONTHS ago
A father-of-two today revealed how he experienced eight months of worry after he was falsely told he would have go under the knife for a second cancer operation.
Chris Nunns, 39, was seconds from having invasive surgery at Bradford Royal Infirmary in order to remove a five inch diameter of skin tissue from his head to remove cancerous cells.
But when a junior doctor read his notes, he discovered Chris should have been given the all clear for the skin cancer EIGHT months before. Mr Nunns said: ‘I was on the table, about to be wheeled into surgery when a doctor turned to be and said ‘What are you doing here?’. ‘I asked what he meant, thinking it was a bit of a distasteful thing to say to somebody with cancer. ‘Then he explained that according to my notes, I should have been given the all-clear in July 2010.’
Mr Nunns, of Brighouse, West Yorkshire, was diagnosed with skin cancer in January 2010 after he found a growth on his scalp. A biopsy had confirmed an initial operation in June 2010 had successfully removed the cancer, but his medical notes were not updated. He was led to believe it had spread following an initial operation and he returned for a second operation in February 2011.
Chris, a security guard, wants answers about how such a vital piece of information wasn’t passed on. He said he was angry that a mix-up with his notes meant he wasn’t told he was cancer free in July 2010.
The worried father had been to Calderdale Royal Infirmary (CRI) in Halifax, West Yorkshire, to see his consultant for the results of an initial histology report which showed there were cancerous cells around the birthmark on his head. He was sent to Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI) for surgery to remove the dangerous cells and told that the piece of skin tissue they took would be sent away for testing and he would be given the results at his next consultancy.
But a mix-up meant his notes were never updated and the Infirmary were still looking at the results from the first histology rather than the operation.
Chris said: ‘A couple of weeks after that operation, in July 2010, I was back at CRI awaiting the results of the second histology report, however, unbeknown to me or my consultant Mr Foo, my notes hadn’t been updated and were still showing the results from the first histology report. ‘Mr Foo look at the notes, saw that it said there were still cancerous cells there, and I was booked into BRI for more surgery.
‘I remember he said to me “From the look of the notes, we haven’t got it all I’m afraid so we’re going to need to take another two inches from around what we took before.” ‘Obviously I was devastated, but at that time I was happy for them to do whatever it took to get rid of it. I was told it was a do-or-die operation.
‘However, at BRI they had updated my notes correctly with the up-to-date histology report that showed all the cancerous cells had actually gone and I was in the all-clear. ‘It was only because a doctor standing in front of me, minutes before my surgery, at BRI flicked through my notes that I was saved from nearly having my head maimed.’
Chris had kept the news from his children Marc, 10, and Megan, eight, as he didn’t want to worry them. He said: ‘I was going over and over in my mind how I was going to tell my kids that their dad was poorly. I’m angry that all that stress and worry could have been avoided.’
Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS trust, who are responsible for the mix-up have apologised to Mr Nunns and said they are looking at how to improve the way in which patient notes are sent from Bradford to Calderdale hospital.
But Mr Nunns said he will never be able to get back those eight months he spent worrying out the non-existent skin cancer he was under the impression he was suffering from. He said: ‘I was told that I would need to have a course of radiotherapy after the second operation to ensure they definitely killed all the cancerous cells. ‘For eight months they made me think I had something seriously wrong with me and I’d actually been in remission all that time.’
Mr Nunns received a letter from Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS trust that said: ‘Your experience has clearly identified that the system of sending histology reports from Bradford Royal Hospital for filing in Calderdale clinical notes need to be reviewed to rectify the problem you experienced and avoid this happening again in the future.’ A spokesperson for Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust said: ‘If Mr Nunns has further concerns we would ask him to contact us.’
Murdered girl’s family’s in ‘appalling’ British court ordeal
The treatment of Milly Dowler’s family in court has been branded “appalling” by the Government’s victims’commissioner, Louise Casey. Bob and Sally Dowler were made to feel as if they and not Levi Bellfield, their daughter’s killer, were on trial, she said.
Their ordeal in the witness box, enduring intense cross-examination about intimate aspects of their lives, is just the latest “shocking” example of grieving families being treated as an “inconvenience” in the system, she added.
Miss Casey questioned why the rich and famous are able to obtain court injunctions to hide their adulterous affairs while ordinary families such as the Dowlers had to endure their private lives being raked over.
She called for the case to be a spur for lasting change to a judicial system which, she said, affords defendants a “long list” of rights while victims and their families get only “vague promises”.
During Bellfield’s trial at the Old Bailey Bob Dowler had to admit that he had kept pornographic magazines at the family home in Walton-on-Thames and that bondage equipment had been found in the attic.
His wife was cross-examined on her daughter’s teenage insecurities including distressing poems suggesting she thought she was a “disappointment” to her parents. Relatives said that the way their family life had been portrayed during the trial process had “damaged” them.
Miss Casey, the commissioner for victims and witnesses, said the family’s ordeal since the abduction in 2002 been “heartbreaking” but that they had shown dignity and courage in the face of “unimaginable” horror. “It is appalling that they have also had to go through a court process where it must have seemed that they were themselves on trial,” she wrote in The Sun.
While accepting that defendants were entitled to a strong defence, she went on: “At the same time as the rich and famous obtain court orders to prevent reporting of their extramarital affairs, surely it is not too much to ask that a family who have had their lives torn apart by a murder be afforded a little privacy too?”
Miss Casey listed a series of example of victims being effectively ignored. She cited the case of a family who had to sit close to relatives of their loved-one’s killer as they laughed and joked through the trial.
One mother unable to bury her dead baby for almost a year because of constant requests for fresh post mortem examinations from the defence, she said. Another woman was not told that her father’s killer was being released until she bumped into him in the street.
British singer says ginger jibes are akin to racism
He’s right. In politically correct England, some bigotries are still OK: Dislike of people from a different social class; contempt for people from the North of the country; amusement at anything Scottish; dislike of Jews and mockery of redheads
He may have found fame with Simply Red, but you mustn’t mention the colour of Mick Hucknall’s hair. The ginger singer claims making fun of his roots is akin to racism.
After facing a series of belittling comments on social networking website Twitter, the 51-year-old told his followers: ‘Let’s play a game: whenever you read “ginger” try replacing it with “black” or “asian” and see how it reads.’ A later post added: ‘Bigots are mostly best ignored. Tho a little outing once in a while spices up ones Tea!’
The pop star questioned why a string of prominent Britons were not similarly defined by the colour of their hair. ‘Interesting also that Prince Harry almost never referred to as Ginger by the media,’ he noted. ‘Or Churchill, or Elizabeth 1 or Shakespeare (allegedly). And lest we forget, dear old Henry VIII!’
Approximately one in ten people in the UK [mostly in Scotland] has ginger hair, or titian hair as it is sometimes known, giving us one of the highest redhead rates in the world.
The colouring is caused by high levels of the pigment pheomelanin and relatively low ones of the darker eumelanin.
There are plenty of historical examples of extreme ‘gingerism’. In 15th-century Germany, redheads were seen as witches and 45,000 were tortured and murdered. Elsewhere, the Egyptians burned ginger people alive, and the Greeks claimed they turned into vampires when they died.
Nevertheless, some of the modern world’s most desirable women are redheads, including models Lily Cole and Karen Elson.
Hucknall – once known as the Ginger Lothario for his womanising ways – married former art dealer Gabriella Wilke-Wesberry, 40, the mother of his four-year-old daughter Romy True, 13 months ago.
British Universities must tell students which subjects are best to study
Universities will be ordered to publish secret data on the A-level subjects most likely to win places on degree courses, under a radical shake-up of higher education. For the first time, admissions tutors will be required to tell pupils which options to choose in the sixth form to maximise their chances of getting into the most selective universities.
It follows concern that tens of thousands of candidates from state comprehensives are effectively barred from elite institutions by being pushed into taking “soft” A-levels, while middle-class pupils at grammar and independent schools receive better advice from teachers and parents.
The move is likely to lead to a drop in the number of teenagers studying subjects such as media studies, art and design, dance and photography – often secretly blacklisted by top universities – in favour of tougher options such as English, maths, history, geography and the sciences.
The reforms will be outlined in a long-awaited higher education White Paper to be published next week. The document will map out a wide-ranging programme of reforms for English universities to coincide with the substantial increase in student tuition fees next year. In a key change, it will propose scrapping existing admission quotas in favour of a more market-based approach.
David Willetts, the Universities Minister, is also keen to increase the amount of information available to prospective students in an attempt to ensure they receive value for money. He wants each university to draw up “student charters” – written guarantees on issues such as the number of lectures they will receive, support and feedback from tutors, graduate job prospects, standards of accommodation and academic and sporting facilities.
In another development, every university will be required to publish detailed information outlining the A-level courses students should take to secure places. Data will eventually be uploaded to the Government’s Unistats website, designed to help students apply to university. Other reforms include:
* Allowing top universities to admit as many bright students – those gaining at least two As and a B at A-level – as they want, to promote competition between institutions;
* Relaxing controls on the number of students taking degree courses at former polytechnics and further education colleges that charge less than £6,000, to keep the student loans bill down;
* Placing around eight per cent of remaining government-funded places in a central pool and allocating them in an “auction” to institutions with the lowest fees;
* Giving private education providers more incentives to run degree courses officially accredited by the Government, increasing diversity in the sector.
Earlier this year, the Russell Group, which represents leading institutions such as Oxford, Cambridge and University College London, published lists of A-level subjects favoured by admissions tutors. Mr Willetts wants this data to be released more widely by every selective university.
Figures released this week showed that comprehensive school pupils were significantly more likely to take soft A-level courses than peers in private and grammar schools.
Sir Steve Smith, the vice-chancellor of Exeter University and president of Universities UK, said: “We can’t have students from poor backgrounds taking the wrong courses, but universities have not always been explicit enough in outlining which courses they accept and which they don’t. “As it currently stands, the students with access to the best information and guidance are naturally those from the better-off backgrounds.”