Patient And Medical Negligence Lawyers Call For Lessons To Be Learned
A young woman is calling for lessons to be learned after being diagnosed with mouth cancer more than five years after a Hospital Trust classed her urgent case as a routine appointment.
Jordan Del’Nero from Westfield, Sheffield, was diagnosed with salivary gland cancer in February 2019 after living with a lump in the side of her mouth for around six-and-a-half-years.
In August 2013, then aged 15, Jordan had been referred to Charles Clifford Dental Hospital concerned about a lump in the left side of her mouth. In the previous 12 months she had sought medical advice and was prescribed antibiotics to treat the lump.
Sheffield patient's care not followed up
However, Jordan said neither she nor her parents were contacted about a follow up appointment so she believed she did not need to be seen by doctors.
Following her diagnosis Jordan, now aged 25, underwent surgery to remove the tumour. This included removing and reconstructing part of her jaw and taking a skin graft from her left leg. She also had five teeth removed.
Jordan asks medical negligence lawyers to investigate care following mouth cancer diagnosis
She instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate her care under Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust which runs Charles Clifford Dental Hospital.
The Trust originally denied a breach of duty. However, following further legal submissions it admitted a breach of duty in that Jordan was added to the system as a “new routine” appointment rather than “urgent” as she should have been. There was “no evidence” that Jordan was contacted either by phone or through the post for an appointment to be arranged.
Jordan should have been contacted, but the Trust’s lawyers advised that the Trust was “unable to offer an explanation” as to why she wasn’t seen.
Lawyers secure settlement to fund Jordan's ongoing care and treatment needs
Jordan and her legal team at Irwin Mitchell are now using World Cancer Day in calling for lessons to be learned. It comes after Irwin Mitchell secured Jordan an undisclosed settlement from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to help fund the ongoing care and treatment she requires.
Expert Opinion“Jordan has suffered an incredibly tough number of years, first living with the tumour and then having to come to terms with her diagnosis and subsequent treatment.
“During the course of our investigations worrying issues came to light regarding Jordan’s care.
“While we’re pleased to have settled this case allowing Jordan to focus on the future and her ongoing recovery, it’s also vital that lessons are now learned to improve patient safety and care for others.
“It’s also important that people are aware of the symptoms of mouth cancer and continue to seek medical advice at the earliest opportunity. As with all cancer, early detection and treatment are key to beating it.” Nicola Ashton
Medical negligence: Jordan Del'Nero's story
Jordan’s parents took their daughter to A&E in August 2012 concerned about the lump and that she had toothache and swelling in her mouth. She was prescribed antibiotics.
Following a dental appointment Jordan was referred to Charles Clifford Dental Hospital that September. She was given more antibiotics for a suspected cyst or infected salivary gland.
In August 2013 Jordan, who complained to her dentist about bleeding gums and slightly increased pain in her lump, was referred back to hospital.
However, the family said they were never contacted by Charles Clifford Dental Hospital for a follow up appointment. In January 2019 Jordan started experiencing bad toothache. She was prescribed antibiotics and told to visit hospital by a GP.
Following scans and a biopsy she was diagnosed with cancer. Jordan, who is married to Amy, underwent surgery to remove the cancer in March 2019. She also suffered with severe leg pain for a number of months following her skin graft and had to take time off from her job as a catering assistant.
Jordan reveals impact of cancer as she backs awareness campaign
Jordan said: “When I was first seen at Charles Clifford Dental Hospital I wasn’t too concerned. I was young and at no stage did the doctors give the impression there was anything to be worried about.
“When I went back around a year later I didn’t receive a follow up appointment so we assumed it must be something for us not to worry about. If we had received an appointment I know my mum or dad would have taken me.
“Over the next few years the lump remained and I presumed it was something that I just had to live with.
“However, things started to change in early 2019. When I went back to the hospital I was now older and very anxious that it might be something more sinister than a cyst. When I was told I had cancer I felt numb.
“I can’t remember too much following my surgery other than lying there in hospital. I couldn’t talk for a few days and had to write messages on a pad. I struggled to eat for about two weeks after leaving hospital. I was reliant on my family and my wife for everything.
“Even four years on I’m still coming to terms with my diagnosis and my appearance. I have scars on my neck and leg from surgery and would like to have dental implants to replace my lost teeth.
“I try and remain as positive as possible but sometimes I do worry about what the future may hold. I just hope that by speaking out I can help others who may be going through something similar and to help raise awareness of oral cancer, especially in young people.”
World Cancer Day is an annual campaign on 4 February. Organised by the Union for International Cancer Control it aims to raise awareness of the signs of cancer, reduce deaths and increase access to life-saving treatment.
Find out more about our expertise in supporting people and families affected by cancer at our dedicated cancer claims section. Alternatively to speak to an expert contact us or call 0370 1500 100.