The Canary Islands Health Service (SCS) has been convicted of taking more than six months to diagnose a terminal cancer to a patient. The affected attended the Adeje Health Center up to 41 times in just over three months and, despite being cared for by various doctors and the diagnostic tests performed, no doctor detected anything. In a judgment of the Contentious Administrative Court number 3 of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, handed down on September 1, the authentic ordeal that the patient suffered during his last months of life is realized until passed away in 2013.
The sentence, which was advanced this Tuesday by Radio Club Tenerife, the judicial body partially attends to the claims of the relatives of JCGM (the deceased patient) and orders the SCS to compensate the plaintiff with 30,000 euros after noting that “the imputation of the damage focuses on the sufferings of JCGM from the month of September 2012 until his death due to being a lack of diligence regarding the treatment providedor, and not in terms of the pathology that ultimately caused death.
The ruling includes part of the report of the forensic medical expert who has assessed the medical history of the deceased patient.
The man She came to the health center for the first time with back pain and cough, and he was referred to Primary Care and the Pain Unit of the University Hospital of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria. In just two months, the patient lost more than ten kilos. Despite the fact that two of his immediate relatives had died after suffering from cancer, you were never referred to an oncology specialist.
Just a doctor the first one who observed him in mid-October 2012 diagnosed him with “spondyloarthrosis”. A note from the forensic expert indicates that “this is the only doctor who establishes such a diagnosis that, from now on, would be repeated by other doctors.”
On December 28, from the emergency service of the Hospital de la Candelaria and after an X-ray test, “he is referred to the pulmonologist on a preferential basis” and in the aforementioned medical report, which indicates that the vast majority of his content is illegible, it is understood that “singulair and symbicort” (anti-asthmatic inhalants) have been prescribed.
The forensic expert makes various considerations in his report on the analyzed medical file of the patient who finally died. Thus, in the sentence the judge points out that “it is necessary to emphasize that from the beginning of the clinical picture, the patient went 41 times to the Adeje Health Center in a period of 106 calendar days, receiving medical assistance each time. This means an average of one consultation every two and a half days, without counting assistance to other hospital centers.
The aforementioned report details that the patient had «22 consultations with a doctor, and another three consultations with two other doctors, respectively, while he attended a consultation only once with another 13 doctors, all of them at the Adeje Health Center, “according to the aforementioned forensic expert report.
The forensic doctor points out that «the patient missed an excessive number of diagnostic therapeutic opportunities. According to the medical literature consulted, it would be advisable to extend the specialized clinical study one month after the symptom of cough of unknown cause exists. Especially if we add the chest pain symptom of unknown cause, as well as the obvious signs (the one that should have been more striking, the loss of weight) ».
«The patient continued to cough, wasted, and suffered continuous pain that did not improve despite the wide range of analgesics that were provided, increasingly powerful and diverse (from NSAIDs to opioids, through antiepileptics and corticosteroids; orally, intramuscular and even intravenous) ».
Almost a year after the first consultation he was admitted with a picture of lung cancer but it was too late. The patient died after palliative sedation at the age of 41 years.
For all these reasons, the judge considers that the health care received deviated from good clinical practice and that he did not receive palliative care in advance to mitigate his suffering, improving his quality of life and that of his relatives. Against this judgment it is possible to file an appeal before the Canary Islands Superior Court of Justice (TSJC).