Dr Kazi Huq – UK – 23 August 2005

A WOMAN died from cancer four years after her GP failed to act on test results showing she had the disease.

Xenoulla Poxilaris should have been referred for surgery in 2001 after a biopsy revealed a mole removed from her back had been malignant.

But GP Dr Kazi Huq failed to pass the results to Mrs Poxilaris or refer her back to hospital despite her family repeatedly calling to ask about the situation.

She was eventually diagnosed with cancer two years later. But by then the disease had spread and she died aged 53 in May this year.

Now her husband Andreas is suing Dr Huq, who saw his wife seven times in two years after the mole was removed without revealing it had been a malignant melanoma – the deadliest type of skin cancer.

Mr Poxilaris, a 59-year-old barber, said: ‘Dr Huq has ruined our lives and taken away my wife and my daughter’s mother. I know she would still be here if the doctor had done her job.

‘We kept calling the surgery to get the results but we just kept being told they did not have them. Then they said if we didn’t hear anything it meant my wife was in the clear and there was nothing for us to worry about and you trust your doctor implicitly.

‘She was my wife, my best friend, my partner, everything, but now that is finished and I have nothing.’

Mrs Poxilaris, a dressmaker, had the mole removed by Dr Huq at the Riley House Surgery in Enfield, North London, in April 2001 and the tissue was sent away for a biopsy.

A letter dated April 14, 2001, addressed to Dr Huq and marked ‘urgent’ states that malignant melanoma had been found. But for some reason it was filed away without being acted upon.

In January 2003, Mrs Poxilaris went back to her GP’s surgery after noticing a lump in her groin but her husband says she was told she had an infection and given antibiotics.

Her condition deteriorated and eventually she underwent blood tests and was referred to Chase Farm Hospital in North London.

Specialists found the growth in her groin was cancerous and that she also had a large inoperable tumour in her stomach. She was given a 20 per cent chance of survival and despite undergoing chemotherapy at the Royal Free Hospital in North London, she died on May 3.

Mr Poxilaris and his wife were both born in Cyprus but met in the UK and married 36 years ago.

‘Mum was the heart and soul of our family and it feels like a light has gone out,’ said their daughter Maria, 23, a student who lives with her father in Enfield.

Mr Poxilaris added: ‘My wife died a death you wouldn’t wish on a dog. She was in excruciating pain and despite trying as hard as she could to fight the disease it was too late for her to beat it.

‘I would warn anyone with a worry over cancer to always get a second opinion so that mistakes like this can be spotted early on.’

The Poxilaris’ solicitor, John Kyriacou, said: ‘At the time the mole was removed, if everything around it was excised it would have given her a 95 per cent chance of normal life expectancy.

‘It was completely treatable at that stage.

‘The GP should have called her in straightaway and said, “you are going back to hospital”. Neither of the hospitals involved have done anything wrong and the family have nothing but praise for them.’

A spokesman for the Medical Defence Union, which is representing Dr Huq, said it could not comment on the case. Dr Huq no longer works at Riley House.