Woman’s stomach removed after flawed diagnosis

A hospital in Sweden has been criticized for a faulty cancer diagnosis which resulted in a 54-year-old woman having her stomach removed for no reason.

During a trip to the main hospital in Västerås in central Sweden in October 2007, the woman underwent a gastroscopy which revealed bleeding in her gastrointestinal tract.

Further tests were performed, after which doctors concluded the woman was suffering from the stomach cancer adenocarcinoma.

Doctors then proceeded to have the woman’s stomach surgically removed.

Following the operation, a closer examination of the woman’s stomach tissue showed there were no signs of cancer.

Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) has issued a report criticizing the hospital’s pathology lab after the board’s own expert reviewed the tissue used for the original biopsies and found them to be free of cancer.

Specifically, the health board’s expert faults the lab for failing to describe in detail the basis for the cancer diagnosis.

The board now wants the hospital to implement more thorough reviews of its pathology reports and to seek second opinions on a regular basis, in addition to improving communication between the lab and doctors attending to patients.