GP's text message error tells 8000 patients they have cancer: 'SICK JOKE'

It was meant to be a simple 'Merry Christmas' message...

A medical practice is being slammed for their major screw-up after thousands of patients were sent a deadly diagnosis just days before Christmas.

On December 23, Askern Medical Practice, which has almost 8000 patients, was meant to send out a Merry Christmas text, however there was a mix-up with the messages.

Part of the first text received read: "Diagnosis – aggressive lung cancer with metastases,” which the GP practice seemed to address to a doctor, asking them to fill out a form for the patient.

A photo of Askern Medical Practice in England. A photo of the text sent around to patients from Askern Medical Practice.
The wrong text message was sent to thousands of worried patients from Askern Medical Practice in England, about a cancer diagnosis. Source: Facebook/BBC

Then an hour later, an apologetic message came through from the clinic located near Doncaster, England.

"Please accept our sincere apologies for the previous text message sent. This has been sent in error," it read. "Our message to you should have read 'We wish you a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year'."

After the fiasco, Askern Medical Practice has not offered up any further explanation online.

Patients awaiting results appalled by error

One patient, Sarah Hargreaves, was waiting for her medical results and "broke down" when she received the chilling text.

"I had just had a mole removed and was awaiting a result from a biopsy and I had been to hospital as my smear test came back abnormal, so yes, I was very worried," she told the BBC. So naturally, the first text made her feel "sick to (her) teeth".

Another patient, Chris Reed, who was waiting their lung cancer results, said the text made his partner start crying. He ended up running to the clinic to clarify, where a doctor told him it was a mistake and that his results were negative, The Sun reports.

He was not the only one racing to the clinic, with a woman telling BBC that she was put on hold, and decided to head to the practice instead where she saw around "six people all there panicking as they got the same text".

Timing of text makes things worse

Another text-receiver, Carl Chegwin, as well as his mum, thought the whole situation was "some kind of sick joke" which was "enough to break someone".

"They've just told people a few days before Christmas they've got terminal lung cancer. They can't do that," he told the publication.

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