Skin cancer: Pensioner dies after doctors dismissed him with paracetamol for head lump
The 89-year-old went to hospital to be treated for the cut at the time of his wife’s funeral but over the following nine months it developed into a large growth.
George ignored the swelling lump until February, when the pain became so agonising he went to see his GP, who sent him home with paracetamol, despite having a growth the size of an orange on his scalp.
George Hobbs was placed on the list for urgent surgery after a specialist finally determined that the black egg-sized growth was actually skin cancer – that had been growing out of the top of his head for nine months.
The retired civil servant’s GP surgery sent him home with painkillers three times before he was finally referred to a hospital.
I just want someone to take responsibility
Clare Hobbs, daughter
He died on July 25 and his grieving daughter Clare Hobbs, 32, now wants to know why he was simply dismissed with paracetamol and why it took medics so long to recognise the seriousness of his condition.
She said: “There have been failures on a lot of people’s parts.
“Towards the end he’d spend a lot of time lying down as that’s when it was at its least painful.
“He hardly went out because he was embarrassed.
“He filed all his documents and when I went through them after his death I found a note which read ‘please help me it’s so painful’. That was heartbreaking.
“I just want someone to take responsibility. He was miserable and he did not deserve that.”
In May, George, from Gillingham, Kent, said he went to his local doctors twice before he was sent to a specialist.
He said: “I saw a different doctor the second time and they took one look at it and told me it was too bad for them to deal with.
“The next I knew I had a call from the plastic surgery department at Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead.”
After finally diagnosing the growth on his scalp as skin cancer, Mr Hobbs voiced his frustration:
“I’m furious that they didn’t take this seriously to start with. It’s really causing me a lot of discomfort.
“The specialist at Medway told me I should never have been told to take paracetamol for it.
“They were amazed it had been allowed to get this bad and said I should have been sent to them immediately.”
George, who had been recovering from bladder cancer, was apprehensive about going under the knife again.
He said: “They’re worried because it’s not clear how deep it goes.
“They say if it’s grown upwards they should be able to remove it but if it’s grown downwards it’s more serious.
“I really am very apprehensive and haven’t been able to sleep very well.”
A complaint Mr Hobbs made to Medway Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS England is still being investigated.
Director of primary care transformation Tracy Rouse: “We are sorry to hear of Mr Hobbs’ death.”
She added NHS England was looking into concerns raised.
According to the NHS, non-melonoma skin cancer is the common type of skin cancer in the UK, with more than 100,000 new cases being diagnosed each year.
“It affects more men than women and is more common in the elderly,” it added.
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