A mom who was terrified of developing breast cancer died after bungling doctors missed five chances to detect a fatal tumor.
Lesley Greenwood, who lost her life at 54 years-of-age, complained of pain in her left breast for five months before having a mammogram.
The scan showed an inch-long mass in her breast, but doctors reassured her it was nothing to worry about.
Over the next six months, Lesley’s health deteriorated, and the pain got worse, and her breast became red and swollen.
The mom-of-two, who had three grandchildren, attended five more routine medical appointments before she was finally diagnosed.
Lesley, from Spennymoor, County Durham, started treatment, but the cancer had spread to her spine and liver, and she died just months later.
Following her death in May 2018, her distraught family lodged a complaint with North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust regarding Lesley’s treatment.
The Trust admitted a breach of duty by failing to correctly interpret her first mammogram and recall Lesley for further treatment.
The Trust admitted a six-month delay in diagnosing Lesley’s cancer led to a worse prognosis for her.
As a result of the delay, it accepted that on the balance of probabilities, Lesley wouldn’t have died when she did.
Her family has now received an undisclosed out-of-court settlement.
(Irwin Mitchell via SWNS)
Her husband Eric said: “Lesley had a friend who had suffered with breast cancer and she was anxious about possibly developing it.
“When she started feeling pain she wanted to get checked out straight away.
“While the mammogram came back as normal, Lesley was still concerned, especially as her pain was getting worse.
“Despite this nothing prepared us for the news she had cancer.
“Coming to terms with her diagnosis and having so many questions was incredibly difficult.
“Lesley was determined to fight her cancer head on. However, she suffered terribly at times during her chemotherapy.
“We all hoped her treatment would make her better but she continued to suffer.
“To be told that her cancer had spread and was incurable felt such a cruel blow.
“We tried to cherish what time we had as a family but seeing Lesley go from being the rock of our family to how she was in those last few days is something I’m not sure I’ll ever get over.
“Even after five years, as a family, the pain we continue to feel over Lesley’s death is raw now as it was then.
“There’s not a day goes by where we don’t think of her and her loving smile.
“We’d do anything to have her back in our lives but know that’s not possible.
“We’ll always be upset by what happened to Lesley but as a family we were determined to at least honor her memory by establishing the answers regarding what happened to her.
“All we can hope for now is that by speaking out we can help raise awareness of the signs of breast cancer and the need for everyone to receive the best care possible.
“We wouldn’t wish what we’ve been through on anyone.”
Paying tribute to his wife of 38 years, refuse driver Eric added: “Lesley was an absolutely wonderful wife, mom and grandmother.
“She was loving, kind and generous. She lived for her family and loved looking after the grandkids.
“She was always keen to spoil us all and nothing was ever too much trouble for her.”
Lesley was working as a school cleaner when she started feeling pain in her left breast in November 2015 and attended a GP appointment.
In March 2016 she attended a routine mammogram which showed a 2.2cm long lesion but the results came back as normal.
It was only after her fifth medical appointment that Lesley was referred to a breast clinic.
She underwent a further mammogram in October 2016 which showed a 2.6cm lesion and was diagnosed with breast cancer the next day.
Lesley started chemotherapy and underwent a left breast mastectomy in April 2017.
She also had grueling radiotherapy but in October 2017, doctors revealed the cancer had spread to her spine and liver.
Following Lesley’s death, Eric instructed medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his wife’s care.
Solicitor Megan Walker represented Eric and the couple’s daughter’s Steph Bate, 30 and Caroline Comby, 31.
She said: “Eric, Steph and Caroline, had a number of concerns about the care Lesley received.
“Sadly, our investigation has validated those concerns with the Trust admitting worrying failings in Lesley’s care.
“Early detection and treatment are key to beating cancer, so it’s vital that the Trust learn lessons from what happened to Lesley to improve patient care for others.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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