Dad’s leg amputated after ‘insect bite’ turned out to be terminal cancer
17th June 2019

A dad-of-three was told by doctors that a lump on his leg was an insect bite.

But it turned out that Carl Pinkett had cancer – and now it is terminal.

And the 48-year-old believes that a quicker diagnosis could have stopped the cancer spreading, reports Nottinghamshire Live.

Mr Pinkett said he complained to the health centre for almost a year but was told it was just 'growing pains' and 'an insect bite' despite the lump on his leg getting bigger.

Strelley Health Centre has been closed down by health bosses after they found 'a number of concerns' during an inspection.

The Care Quality Commission took action to "protect the welfare and safety of patients."

Mr Pinkett, who has three grandchildren and one on the way, said the dramatic ordeal goes back as far as 2012 when he complained about pain in his legs.

The joinery manager said: "I was told it was growing pains and you put your trust in your GP. In August 2013, my right leg, at the top, there was a lump the size of a marble.

"It was painful throughout the day but it was worse at night. I went back and said 'there is a lump.' They got me on the couch and pressed around it and they said it was nothing to worry about.

"I then got a second opinion because it was getting bigger. It was red and inflamed. I said 'a lump is a lump, I need referring' and I was told it was just an insect bite.

"They said 'go home, have a nice hot bath, and squeeze it.'

"I came home and felt reassured. I have always been fit and well. I have never been to hospital."

But his wife Sylvia, 49, was not happy and booked him in at Grange Farm Medical Centre, which immediately referred him to the City Hospital.

He underwent an MRI and CT scan and was diagnosed with grade three soft tissue sarcoma, which is cancer that forms in the soft tissue of the body. He had to have his right leg removed.

Doctors told him that when they took the cancer out it was the size of a size nine shoe.

He said: "If it had been caught sooner it would not have spread. I may not have lost my leg. They took it all out but because it is cancer it can reoccur."

In 2016, it came back in his lung and doctors had to remove the bottom part of the affected organ and in 2017, the cancer spread to his chest and he was given the terminal diagnosis.

"I have had 10 operations since 2013. It was a big mistake. Any lumps and bumps should be taken seriously straight away.

"If it had been diagnosed sooner I might not have lost my leg or be in the position I am now. I knew something wasn't right but I did not know who to turn to.

"You don't tell your GP 'you don't know what you are on about.' My wife kept saying this is not an insect bite. It has affected my kids."

Mrs Pinkett said: "I said 'insect bite – are they mad? Because of the size of the lump, it was like an Easter egg.

"I changed to Grange Farm Medical Centre and if it was not for that change he might not be here today because they referred him straight away.

"My children are devastated. We have all been carrying on for Carl's sake. He is a fighter and he wants to carry on with life as much as he can.

"It is the grandchildren that keep him going."

Dr Marcus Bicknell, of Beechdale Medical Group, took over the Strelley Health Centre in 2016 and knew that something wasn't right.

He said: "We found 90 cases that caused us serious concerns, which we reported to NHS England, the CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) and the General Medical Council.

"Some of the cases are not dissimilar to the one you describe. We were not there in 2013, but we hope this patient receives the care he needs.

"We would seriously advise him to speak to the CCG and PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) so he can get the help and support he deserves.

"We have worked hard to keep the patients of Strelley safe and well."

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