Mistreatment in cancer patients

This article highlights a scandal at Colchester General Hospital in which a patient suffering from a brain tumor recently died. Mackenzie Caskett age four apparently died after his treatment was delayed by the hospital’s administration. However, these were revelations that only came to light a few days later, when parents of other patients came out to voice their concern of the appalling slow paced treatment of cancer patients at the hospital. Sadly, Caskett was just one of many cancer patients who succumbed to their condition because of their hospital’s unethical practices.

Apparently, when the Duchess of Cambridge visited the patients including the late Caskett, the condition at the hospital was already deteriorating. However, to conceal their worsening situation, the hospital’s management bullied and ordered their staff to alter patients’ records and paint a picture that everything was running smoothly. Citing CQC, a healthcare watchdog, the article notes that “officials falsified data to make it look as if crucial targets were met” (Borland, Taylor & Ellicott, 2013).

The falsified data included those of patients who had been on the treatment waiting list for up to four months despite the fact they needed urgent cancer treatment. The hospital is currently under investigation; an indication that this was a serious case. Chief Executive of Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital admitted that the hospital had failed to serve the patients accordingly. Gordon Coutts also apologized to the patients. Meanwhile, calls have been made to respect junior hospital staff such as nurses who blew the whistle on the hospital.

Cancer and the type of tumors are one of the topics in my biology class. This article highlights one of the challenges in the treatment of cancer: inadequacy of resources. Treatment of cancer and brain tumor specifically is relatively expensive and requires a lot of funds, man power and equipments and facilities which are also costly. Specialists in the field are also few. When these factors converge together like it did for this hospital, treatment delays and sadly, death of patients may occur like it did in this case.

This article caught my attention because it highlights another factor that I believe is also a challenge to cancer treatment: unethical practices within hospitals. The hospital blatantly falsified patients’ records to paint a good picture and save its image. To achieve this, they bullied the junior staff into silence. The end result is death of patients. If they would have come out and highlighted their plight I believe they would have received the necessary help to effectively treat the patients without unwarranted and fatal delays.

The reason why this topic caught my attention was because my girlfriend has a brain tumor and she needs a special treatment to help her deal with the pain. One day she might need to have surgery to have her tumor removed and I wouldn’t want anything happening because a delay of treatment. Personally, this unethical practice in hospitals worries me and it bothers to know that a hospital can engage in such unethical behaviors in the name of saving reputation at the expense of their patients. I also have relatives in the nursing profession who may be victims of such bullying as witnessed in the report.

Cancer has become one of the leading causes of deaths across the globe (Jemal, Siegel, Xu & Ward, 2010). Cancer is not bias to race or age. It affects both the private and public sectors. Research into cancer and cancer treatment is very important because one day there might be a cure for it. Therefore, research in this area should be funded through a partnership between the state and the private sector. Eradicating cancer is an arduous task that requires a concerted effort through partnerships.


Borland, S. , Taylor, R. & Ellicott, C. (2013). “Scandal of the tragic boy whose ordeal touched Kate: Probe into cancer care at hospital where four-year-old died. ” Daily Mail Online 6 November 2013. Retrieved 12 November 2013 from http://www. dailymail. co. uk/news/article-2487897/Hospital-bullied-pressured-staff-fake-cancer-patients-records-make-look-like-meeting-waiting-time-targets. html Jemal, A. , Siegel, R. , Xu, J. & Ward, E. (2010). “Cancer Statistics, 2010”. Cancer J Clin 60 (5): 277–300.

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