The mother of a girl who died of cancer a day after being diagnosed has said the hospital compounded her grief by sharing the family’s address with the teenager’s estranged father. The University Hospitals Bristol NHS foundation trust apologised to Kelly Baverstock and admitted it had breached its duty of confidentiality by giving doctor’s letters…
The mother of a girl who died of cancer a day after being diagnosed has said the hospital compounded her grief by sharing the family’s address with the teenager’s estranged father.
The University Hospitals Bristol NHS foundation trust apologised to Kelly Baverstock and admitted it had breached its duty of confidentiality by giving doctor’s letters and her address to the father of 13-year-old Tanisha despite the fact he had not seen his daughter in years.
Baverstock said that when hospital staff contacted her to disclose the situation, they said: “We have just given him all the letters and address details. What should we do?”
She said she received a letter “apologising and admitting full liability for what they had done”. She said “it could have been anyone” who was given her details as there was no security process around sharing information.
The Guardian has seen a letter from the trust to Baverstock apologising for the mistake. The trust wrote: “It is with the greatest regret that I am writing to say how very sorry we are for the failure in our duty of confidentiality that led to your address being shared with your estranged partner. We are terribly saddened that further distress will have inevitably been caused during this difficult time.”
An investigation has been launched into Tanisha’s death. Baverstock said Tanisha was “skin and bone” and “barely able to lift her head” but Salisbury district hospital initially said she had a chest infection and prescribed antibiotics.
The next day, Baverstock took Tanisha to Bristol Royal hospital for children, and after a five-hour wait Tanisha was diagnosed with cancer. She died within 24 hours.
The teenager, from Wiltshire, had had a cough for weeks and gone to her family doctor twice in January. She was prescribed antibiotics, and a blood infection was discovered a week later. An outpatients appointment was booked at Salisbury.
Despite telling Baverstock her daughter’s chest X-ray showed “changes to her lungs”, the hospital sent the pair home with antibiotics and told them to come back in four weeks. However, the next morning hospital staff called to say they had reviewed the X-rays and found “something really nasty growing in her lungs”.
Baverstock drove Tanisha to Bristol Royal. “She had to walk 10 minutes and sit in A&E while she could not hold up her head and her fingernails were turning purple,” she said. ”They told me that she was … riddled with [cancer] and breathing from one lung. They said she had the most aggressive cancer and it doubled every day.” She said her daughter had no end-of-life care or pain relief.
A spokesperson for University Hospitals Bristol NHS foundation trust said of the address disclosure: “We would like to offer our sincerest apologies for this error occurring. We take confidentiality very seriously and have begun a thorough investigation into what happened. We have also informed the Information Commissioner’s Office in line with data protection requirements.”