Misdiagnosed cancer sufferer feels like DHB 'don't care'

David Bain's brain cancer was misdiagnosed as depression. Photo / iStock
David Bain's brain cancer was misdiagnosed as depression. Photo / iStock

A man whose brain cancer was misdiagnosed as depression is fed up waiting for answers from the West Coast District Health Board (WCDHB).

David Bain was diagnosed with stage four melanoma earlier this year after a locum GP at Buller Health Medical Centre refused to take his complaints of a headache seriously and prescribed him anti-depressants.

Mr Bain went to the doctor three more times with worsening symptoms before his partner, Jasmine Jackson, took him to Buller Hospital.

Hours later, Bain was diagnosed with stage four melanoma and had part of a tumour removed from his brain.

The Press reported that the WCDHB's investigation into the case was in its final stages, but Ms Jackson said the couple were fed up waiting for answers.

She said there had been no contact from the board in months.

"No one has bothered to call us and let us know what is happening.

"The least they could do is keep us in the picture.

It feels like they don't care about us." Ms Jackson told The Press that at their last meeting in March, the couple were told a computer fault may have been to blame for why Bain was not taken in for a CT scan earlier.

"I don't buy that. We went in multiple times and I demanded a scan. I knew something was up and it wasn't depression but he was flat out refused," Ms Jackson said.

"I hold the doctor responsible. What follow-up action have they taken with him? None." Figures released under the Official Information Act showed Buller Health Medical Centre had 28 locum doctors covering 2.44 full-time equivalent positions in the last financial year.

WCDHB quality and patient safety manager Paul Norton said a root cause analysis (RCA) investigation into the case was almost complete, The Press reported.

"We are in the closing stages of having this report finalised and are planning a meeting with the Bain family shortly to discuss the outcomes of this review." Norton said the RCA investigation took longer than planned, but he wanted to ensure the outcomes were "accurate and meaningful".

He said the WCDHB could have done better in keeping the family informed.

"We are working on improving our RCA process, and one of the things we are committed to improving is how we keep patients and families abreast of progress." Last month, Mr Bain was informed the cancer had spread to his lungs.

He was undergoing a trial chemotherapy treatment in Greymouth, The Press reported.

- Westport News

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