Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

57-Year-Old's Life Saved by Million-to-One Medical Mix-Up; SERIOUS BONE MARROW DISEASE DISCOVERED AFTER RECORDS MISTAKE

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

57-Year-Old's Life Saved by Million-to-One Medical Mix-Up; SERIOUS BONE MARROW DISEASE DISCOVERED AFTER RECORDS MISTAKE

Article excerpt

Byline: HELEN RAE

A MILLION-TO-ONE medical mix-up has helped save the life of retired policeman Donald Caine.

The 57-year-old was unaware he was living with a serious bone marrow disorder that was damaging his kidneys and spleen.

Donald, from Wallsend, hadn't been to the doctors in 20 years but was sent a letter asking him to attend his doctors' surgery in November for a swine flu vaccination.

But it turned out they'd mixed his medical notes up with his dad's, also called Donald, who passed away in 1989 following a kidney transplant.

Donald did not need the jab as he wasn't in an 'at-risk' group. However, doctors decided to run some tests anyway after noticing he had high blood pressure.

The results revealed a lot of protein in his urine and the findings were sent to the renal unit at Newcastle's Freeman Hospital, where he underwent a kidney biopsy and was later diagnosed with AL amyloidosis this year.

Now the grandfather-ofone has spoken of the remarkable coincidence which helped diagnose his condition.

He said: "It came as a massive shock and completely took my breath away as it was so unexpected.

"I felt absolutely fine and couldn't quite believe I was being told I had a rare medical condition.

"It was difficult to take in and understand what was happening. At the time it was quite scary for me and my family." AL amyloidosis is only diagnosed in approximately six to 10 patients in the North East every year.

It's a disease in which an abnormal protein, usually produced by cells in the bone marrow, deposits and accumulates in the tissues and organs, causing disease.

Deposits can build up almost anywhere in the body. Each patient has a different pattern of amyloid deposition, with different organs affected, including kidneys, heart, liver, spleen, nerves, or digestive system. …

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