A former taxi driver has spoken of the moment he saw a football-sized tumour on a scan which had been missed by doctors.
Philip Sinitsky, of Beehive Lane in Ilford, was referred to Whipps Cross University Hospital in 2006 after suffering discomfort in his calves and pain in his back.
The Orthopaedic consultant at the Leytonstone hospital send him for an MRI scan to examine his spine.
In May, the scan took place under the MRI 'Fast Track' NHS contract and was conducted by private provider Alliance Medical Limited.
Images of the scan were then passed on to ‘Expert Eye Limited’ in Edinburgh to be reported on by Consultant Radiologists.
Mr Sinitsky, now 68, was relieved when the Expert Eye radiologist found no abnormalities.
However, the back and neck pain continued, despite a course of physiotherapy.
In May 2007 he was re-referred to another orthopaedic specialist at Whipps Cross Hospital and an MRI scan followed at King George Hospital in December of that year.
Just after Christmas Mr Sinitsky was asked to go in for an urgent appointment.
Then, he was told that the scan showed a 20cm long tumour in his left kidney.
Already, the disease had spread and lesions were also found on his lungs.
Mr Sinitsky said: “When I first saw it I was shocked, just gob-smacked.
“I could see it for myself.”
The pensioner then had to undergo a life-changing operation to remove his kidney, lymph nodes and adrenal glands in March 2008.
He made a formal complaint to Whipps Cross Hospital NHS Trust, which raised concerns with Alliance Medical.
The x-ray had been examined by two consultant radiologists at the private company, who both failed to identify the growth.
Suzanne Trask, specialist medical negligence solicitor at Bolt Burdon Kemp, helped Mr Sinitsky to get a five figure sum in compensation for the delay in diagnosis.
She said: “I was keen to help Philip, particularly given the devastating blow that he suffered when seeing the 2006 scan for himself.
“It is unfortunate that in such a clear case of negligence, it took until June 2011 for the NHS to admit liability. I hope that bringing this to light will lead to an open and meaningful review of how this happened and what can be done to prevent this in future.”
Mr Sinitsky says that he would advise people to seek a second opinion.
He said: “I would strongly urge other patients who have had scans to request that they are reviewed by a second radiologist where there is any concern at all.
“A letter was written to my GP that said there was nothing remarkable on the scan. I thought I had no need to worry.
“It’s really quite unbelievable.
“I don’t blame the NHS it’s the private companies who missed it If only they’d have just said sorry.
"I would not have taken it further. Unfortunately the letter of response to my complaint was far from satisfactory. It was insulting”.
In November 2013 Mr Sinitsky saw a rheumatologist at King George Hospital, when another MRI scan of his full spine was taken.
Medical provider 4 Ways Healthcare checked the scan and made no comment on his lungs.
After requesting that the MRI scan be double checked by a radiologist within the hospital, he then received phone call saying that lesions were found.
Mr Sinitsky says that he has “very little faith” in private medical providers.
He is currently having regular reviews and as the lung lesions are growing, he is likely to require chemotherapy in the future.