It’s easy to take pot shots at the National Health Service, but just once in a while those pot shots are more than justified as is the case of 33 year old Jeannine Harvey, a mother of four who died from cervical cancer after being told that the agonising pain she suffered for four months was due to ‘nerve pain and anxiety’.
She first complained about pain in her stomach and left leg in December last year.After a blood test for ovarian cancer came back elevated, her GP arranged for ultrasound scans.These revealed a mass about 4cm wide on the left side of her pelvic area.
Despite this, the family claim medics at Birmingham City Hospital told her it was just nerve pain.
Two months later she was told the mass had gone and she did not have cancer. It was suggested she had a cyst which had burst.
She had more than 30 medical consultations, but doctors repeatedly told her she was suffering with ‘anxiety’ from a suspected torn ligament and she was referred back to her GP for physiotherapy who suggested the pain could have been a problem with her back.
But over the next few days she collapsed several times and was rushed to A&E; at Sandwell Hospital – where she was told she had a possible torn ligament. Another MRI scan diagnosed protruding discs which would require more physiotherapy.
Finally, in April, her GP arranged for her to be admitted to the Medical Assessment Unit at Birmingham City Hospital. It was only then that a nurse, upon seeing her condition and medication, assumed she was a cancer patient and she was finally diagnosed with sarcoma a few days later.
Even this diagnosis was in correct. She actually had uterine cancer of the cervix. The mass had by this time grown to around 8cm.By the time the correct treatment was initiated, the tumour had become infected and shattered her pelvic bone.
To prove her suffering, her family secretly filmed her in hospital crying out in pain “I’m dying”. You can view the video on the Daily Mail website where there is more detail on this tragic case.
It’s hard to believe that in the 21st century that so many medical practitioners could have got this so wrong. My thoughts go out to the relatives and family and I hope that highlighting the case in my modest publication helps prevent this happening again…