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Published: 12:00, 24 March 2014 |
Updated: 15:19, 24 March 2014
A grandmother has been left horribly disfigured after medics failed to notice she had a tumour the size of a turnip growing on her nose.
Golda Humphrey, 79, now has a hole in the centre of her face after a series of life-saving operations to remove a huge cancerous growth from the end of her nose.
The deformity began when she was in hospital and over nearly five months a scab repeatedly formed on the tip of her nose before dropping off.
Warning: Graphic images below
"When I was finally diagnosed with skin cancer, it was way too late.
"The tumour was so big it had spread to my lip and I had to have two operations to remove it.
Nan-of-two Golda's ordeal began in July 2011 when she took a tumble in the garden of her home in Windmill Street, Gravesend, and broke her femur and shattered her kneecap.
She was hospitalised for 15 weeks after her leg failed to heal and she underwent surgery to fix her damaged knee.
Midway through her stay she mysteriously began developing a scab on the tip of her nose.
"It was like she was growing a horn.
"When she was recovering after her knee op, the lump just kept getting bigger and bigger.
"And then when she was discharged it was still growing.
"All the doctors and nurses we spoke to said it was just a cyst or a reaction to her meds, so they didn't think it was anything to worry about."
It was only when Golda saw a locum in December while staying with her daughter - around five months after the curious growth began - that she was told it could be more serious.
She has also been fitted with a prosthetic nose, which she is reluctant to wear because it's uncomfortable.
"It looks like she was shot in the face. I love her all the world but I think the NHS has really let her down" - Shannon Helmsley
Golda and her family are suing the hospital in Kent - which they do not want to name for legal reasons - for negligence, claiming it had ample opportunity to spot the tumour.
Granddaughter Shannon Helmsley, 18, said her nan wasn't the same person any more.
She said: "My nan has been knocked for six by all this.
"They've given her a prosthetic nose but she's self-conscious about it because her face is a complete mess.
"It looks like she was shot in the face.
"I love her all the world but I think the NHS has really let her down."
A hospital spokesman said: "We have investigated and responded to the concerns raised by Mrs Humphrey in October 2012.
"Mrs Humphrey was admitted after a fall with a badly broken leg that took a long time to heal.
"She was regularly reviewed throughout her stay and no other concerns were raised.
"We are very sorry to hear that she later went on to develop a malignant melanoma on her nose after her discharge from our care."
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