UK medical office mistakenly tells patients they have cancer


LONDON – MAY 7: The National Health Service logo is shown on the wall outside St Thomas’s Hospital May 7, 2003 in London, England.

(NewsNation) — A medical office in England gave patients a scare last week when it sent out a text message that they had been diagnosed with an “aggressive” form of lung cancer. The text was supposed to wish them a Merry Christmas.

The mass text from Askern Medical Practice in Doncaster was sent Dec. 23, though it’s unclear how many people received it. The center has almost 8,000 patients, the BBC reported.

In it, the medical center requests the completion of form DS1500, which is used by the National Health Service to determine benefits eligibility. The text goes on to tell recipients they have been diagnosed with “aggressive lung cancer with metastases.”

About an hour later, the medical office sent an apology message.

“Please accept our sincere apologies for the previous text message sent,” it read. “This has been sent in error. Our message to you should have read ‘We wish you a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.'”

Carl Chegwin told NPR that in his 30 years of going to Askern, he had never once received a holiday message.

“To me, that apology, it’s not even an apology,” he said. “It’s kind of an arrogant, nonchalant, handwaving.”

Neither Askern nor the NHS have commented on the mishap.

Chegwin wasn’t expecting a medical test result, but some others, like Sarah Hargreaves, were.

“I had just had a mole removed and was awaiting a result from a biopsy and I had been to hospital as my smear test came back abnormal, so yes, I was very worried,” Hargreaves told the BBC.

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