Bob Turner has bowel and liver cancer but could have avoided it if he had been seen to sooner for a colonoscopy.
Bob Turner has bowel and liver cancer but could have avoided it if he had been seen to sooner for a colonoscopy.

Cancer could have been avoided

BOWEL cancer sufferer Bob Turner began his first round of chemotherapy yesterday – almost two years after he was first referred to Maryborough Hospital for a colonoscopy, which he didn’t get.

Mr Turner’s GPs pleaded the 79-year-old’s case for 18 months with Fraser Coast Health, at times warning that Mr Turner was seriously anaemic, that he probably had a cancerous tumour and that he was going down hill fast.

But it wasn’t until the Chronicle published Mr Turner’s story on October 30 last year that he was moved swiftly up the waiting list to get his colonoscopy on November 6.

“The trouble is the hospital’s report showed that Bob had nothing but pockets and a single polyp in his bowel,” Mr Turner’s GP Dr Paul Cotton said yesterday.

“And this was after months of my pleading with the hospital to do a colonoscopy because Bob was showing all the symptoms of potentially serious malignancy.”

The Chronicle’s report quoted Dr Cotton as saying he believed Mr Turner had both bowel and liver cancer.

However on October 14 Maryborough’s emergency department diagnosed Mr Turner with acute asthma and on November 4 with chronic lung disease.

Mr Turner continued to feel – and look – unwell and was admitted to Hervey Bay Hospital on November 15.

“He was diagnosed with bowel obstruction due to constipation,” Dr Cotton said incredulously. “And then finally, a few days later, they diagnosed him with cancer.”

On December 14 Mr Turner was discharged from hospital with cancer in both his bowel and liver.

“We have failed Bob Turner and many like him who have contributed well to this country through their lives only to be let down by our health system at the penultimate stage,” Dr Cotton said.

“It is outrageous that this man now has to go through chemotherapy for a condition he could well have avoided had he been treated when he needed urgent attention.”

Mr Turner said he was “grateful” he was finally receiving treatment for his cancers.



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