Dying Sunderland bride takes legal advice over medical delays

Jeanette Scully at the ceremony with her partner David.
Jeanette Scully at the ceremony with her partner David.
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A dying woman who married her long-term partner after finding her cancer was terminal, is taking legal advice about her medical care.

Jeanette Scully 47, from Castletown, has asked lawyers to investigate her care at Sunderland Royal Hospital and her GP practice in Southwick because she believes there were unnecessary delays in her diagnosis, which could have saved her from months of pain.

Within days of being diagnosed with cancer of the womb last month, she was told she didn’t have long to live and had an emotional wedding ceremony with partner of 22 years, David, while an inpatient.

Jeanette, who suffered months of pain before the soft tissue sarcoma was found, is concerned mistakes were made in diagnosing the disease by her GP, Dr Weatherhead and Associates, as well as at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

The new bride, who is receiving round-the-clock palliative care in a hospice, says she doesn’t want other women to suffer in the way she has.

After being rushed to A&E by ambulance, scans revealed she had a mass in her abdomen but this was presumed to be an infected fibroid, for which she was given antibiotic treatment and discharged.

Over the following months her pain continued and Jeanette, claims she was advised by her GP to try and use the power of positive thought to deal with her pain.

On Good Friday, she had to go to A&E again but was discharged without treatment.

David had to push her out of the hospital in a wheelchair and stop the car on their way home as she was screaming in agony.

David said: “I didn’t know what to do. Normal people in that situation would call 999 but I didn’t feel I could as this would mean going to A&E, where we had just been discharged. In desperation, I called 111 and when they heard the state that Jeanette was in, they immediately dispatched an ambulance to return her to Sunderland A&E.”

Jeanette was admitted to Sunderland Royal for six days for pain management but says no reason was provided for her ongoing pain.

By Mid-may the couple say they decided to try a different NHS walk-in centre where felt that she was so unwell, she could only be dealt with at hospital and recommended that she return to Sunderland A&E.

Later that day the couple went back to A&E with Jeanette in severe pain and sShe underwent a CT scan which again identified the mass but this time better imaging suggested that it was cancer.

In June this year, the couple were given the heart-breaking news that Jeanette had terminal cancer which was unlikely to respond to chemotherapy.

Jeanette said: “I was absolutely shocked. I knew all along that something was really very wrong and I had worried about cancer a lot. But I couldn’t believe that I had actually had cancer all of this time.

“I just want to know that what happened to me will be properly investigated and something will be done about it as I would never want anyone else to go through what we have. I really believe that if I had been properly investigated when I first reported symptoms things would have been very different.”

Once she knew she was dying Jeanette and David decided to go ahead with a wedding, which they had been putting off for years.

She said: “Despite everything I had a really lovely day and was even able to walk down the aisle. I am extremely grateful to everyone who helped with the wedding.”

Michelle Armstrong, a specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Jeanette, said: “This is a really tragic situation and it’s terribly distressing for both Jeanette and David. They have tried their best to get help and support and manage the pain she felt and feel as though they have been let down by medical staff.

“We will be investigating the care provided by City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust and the GP practice and seeking the answers that Jeanette and David deserve.”

A spokeswoman from Sunderland Royal said: “We can confirm that we have been contacted by Mrs Scully’s solicitors but have not as yet received her formal claim.

“It would be inappropriate for us to comment on Mrs Scully’s care and treatment but recognise that this is undoubtedly a difficult and distressing time for Mr and Mrs Scully.”

A spokesman at Dr Weatherhead and Associates said no one was available for comment.