Dr Kong Fa Lan Keng Lun, known as Dr Bill Lan, was involved in a breast cancer scandal at Epping Hospital in 2005. The medical services he provided were found to be not up-to-standard by the General Medical Council (GMC). A total of 6,000 scans needed to be reviewed due to his medical negligence.
Now, it has emerged that Dr Lan has once again failed to provide proper medical care to another patient at Ipswich Hospital in 2012.
“Every day is agony,” says patient
The most recent case involved a 46-year-old woman from Suffolk, who was referred to Ipswich Hospital in June 2012 and September 2013 by her GP. The patient, who wished to remain anonymous, was seeking treatment for six months of pain in her right breast and nipple discharge, both of which are symptoms of breast cancer.
Though both a mammogram and ultrasound were performed, Dr Lan concluded that the small mass detected in her breast was most likely a small lymph node and ordered no follow-up tests. 14 months later, the same woman was urgently re-referred to the hospital by the same GP, in excruciating pain and with the same symptoms.
Dr. Lan again performed a mammogram and ultrasound on her. He then requested a biopsy which revealed the woman had breast cancer. Consequently, the patient, fearing that any further delay in treatment would cost her life, paid for a double mastectomy at a private hospital.
“Every day is agony and I’ve been left with terrible health problems,” she said. “It makes me so angry to think that I could have died because this cancer wasn’t treated for 14 months after I was first seen by Dr Lan.
“But what makes matters worse is that he has failed patients before and has been allowed to come back and carry on treating women.”
GMC takes no further action on radiologist’s negligence
The patient is suing Ipswich Hospital, on the basis that the 14-month delay in being correctly diagnosed had resulted in severe health problems and reduced her life expectancy.
The trust has conceded that more diagnostic tests should have been undertaken when the small mass was detected during the initial consultation in June 2012. However, it contests the claim that the delay in providing an accurate diagnosis has decreased the patient’s life expectancy.
The GMC appointed an independent expert to review Dr Lan’s standards of medical care. It was discovered that Dr Lan’s patient examinations had not been carried out satisfactorily. Dr Lan had not only failed to carry out further investigations after the first appointment – but also failed to note several cancerous masses in his second examination. Moreover, Dr Lan had not satisfactorily reported mammogram results.
Despite this, the GMC, which originally put conditions on Dr Lan’s registration at Ipswich after the Epping scandal, has concluded that no further action was required. Dr Lan is now on flexible retirement, although he will still report on some breast screenings.
Said Charlie Massey, chief executive of the GMC, “Where a doctor’s conduct falls below the standard we expect, and puts patients or the public confidence at risk – we can and will take action.”
An Ipswich Hospital spokeswoman said, “The trust is aware of the ongoing investigations in this matter. As a legal claim is being pursued, the trust is unable to comment save to confirm that a response to the claim has been sent to the claimant’s solicitor. We understand that the claimant’s solicitor is investigating further.”
Between October 2007 and October 2009, the GMC placed 18 conditions on DR Lan’s registration, as it was determined that Dr Lan had been irresponsible, inappropriate and negligent in his care to a patient who was then diagnosed with breast cancer. He had also neglected to meet the screening standards expected in the care of another eight women.
Victoria Gofton, a clinical negligence specialist from Slater and Gordon acting on behalf of the patient, said, “We believe Dr Lan’s failure to recognise the significance of the mass and order follow-up tests caused a 14-month delay in receiving treatment which she urgently needed.” MIMS
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