A Birmingham mother was told in a hospital letter she had cancer - only to find it was an administrative blunder.
Kerry Gibson received the letter from City Hospital telling her she had cervical cancer and needed urgent treatment. But when the frightened mother-of-one rang the hospital she was told it was all a dreadful mistake.
Apologetic hospital bosses confirmed Mrs Gibson does not have cancer and said an extensive review had been launched to find the cause of the mistake.
The tearful 34-year-old, who has a seven-year-old son, opened the letter at her home in College Road, Perry Barr, after work but was told it was a mistake and to “ignore it” when she phoned the hospital in Winson Green.
“I have been left in limbo and don’t know what to believe,” said Mrs Gibson, a chef at Bloomsbury House care home in Sutton Coldfield. “Reading that I had cancer in the womb left me feeling numb and devastated. I got home from work and opened the letter, but had to read it three or four times before it sunk in.
“It was a shock and all I could think about was my son. Two of my aunts died from breast and bowel cancer, so it was a very emotional moment.
“But to ring the hospital the next day and have the secretary and doctor suddenly say ‘forget it, it was a mistake’ has left me totally confused and in turmoil. I need a second opinion to put my mind at rest. How many other people does this happen to?”
Jessamy Kinghorn, spokeswoman for City Hospital, said the letter was “human error” and that the patient was never at risk of receiving the wrong treatment.
“We unreservedly apologise to Mrs Gibson for the distress and anxiety she experienced after being mistakenly informed she had cancer,” said Ms Kinghorn.
“This is a very rare and isolated case but we are treating it extremely seriously and have set up an urgent review and will take appropriate action following the outcome of the review.
“We have an approved system to ensure mistakes are not made but in this case our procedures were not followed. Whilst we are pleased for Mrs Gibson that she does not have cancer, we recognise and regret the turmoil she will have been going through.”