Loved Ones Of 33-Year-Old Who Underwent Hand Amputation Instructs Medical Negligence Lawyers To Investigate Care
The grieving family of a mum-of-three found dead after having her left hand amputated due to cancer have spoken of their ‘devastating’ loss.
Beth Reilly, from Furness Vale, Derbyshire, attended her GP surgery in April 2019 with a small lump on her wedding ring finger. It was suspected to be a ganglion – a fluid-filled cyst – and Beth was advised to return if it changed.
Mum-of-three referred to hospital
She was reviewed after five months and again three months later, complaining of pain and growth of the lump. She was referred to Stepping Hill Hospital, where she was seen in February 2020.
An MRI scan was undertaken seven months later, reporting a possible cancerous lesion on her left hand and advising referral to the sarcoma team. Beth, 33, was listed for surgery under the non-cancer pathway.
Hospital Trust's investigation report finds pathology samples logged incorrectly
A lump excision took place in February 2021, with potential evidence of cancer found. However, Beth, wasn’t referred to the sarcoma service until five months later. This was because the pathology samples from her surgery had been logged incorrectly, stated an investigation report carried out by the Stockport NHS Foundation Trust which runs Stepping Hill Hospital
At that time, Beth’s sarcoma – a rare cancer in bones and soft tissue - was found to have spread and she underwent amputation of her hand.
Following the operation, in October 2021, Beth instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate her care and whether her cancer could have been diagnosed sooner.
Beth, who struggled with her diagnosis and subsequent amputation, was found dead in July last year. An inquest is to be held at a later date, but an interim death certificate stated the cause of death to be hanging.
Family and legal team supporting World Cancer Day
Beth’s mum Hazel, 59, is now continuing the case. With legal investigations ongoing, she is joining with her legal team in marking World Cancer Day by raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer.
Expert Opinion“It’s been an immensely difficult time for Beth’s loved ones, in particular Hazel and Beth’s children who lost their mum in such a tragic way.
“Being diagnosed with cancer is terrible enough, but then for Beth to go on to take her own life and die so suddenly has been nothing short of traumatic for her family. They also continue to have unanswered questions over the care Beth received prior to her diagnosis and untimely death, and if more could have been done for her.
“We’re now investigating the family’s concerns. In the meantime, they hope that by sharing Beth’s story, her loved ones can raise awareness of cancer and how early detection and treatment is key to beating it.” Nicola Ashton, Medical Negligence lawyer
Beth, a support worker, underwent further surgery in January 2023 to refashion the amputation stump.
Mum to Jaicey, 16, April, 13, and eight-year-old Teddy- Lee, Beth was found dead on 31 July 2023.
Hazel, who is retired, said: “I don’t think I’ll ever get over losing Beth in the way that we did. She struggled so much with the cancer, but then to have to go through having her hand amputated left her completely broken. She lost all her independence and really couldn’t cope with having to rely on others to do even the most simple tasks.
“To be told that my daughter had died was devastating; no parent should ever have to suffer that. Telling my grandchildren was even worse, as I couldn’t explain to them why their mummy had been taken from them so suddenly."
Mum pays tribute to 'beloved' daughter
Hazel added: “Beth knew something wasn’t quite right with her finger, but she was assured time and time again that it wasn’t cancer. We have so many questions over why it took so long for it to be diagnosed.
“While that won’t bring my beloved Beth back, I feel like I need to get the answers she sought before her death. It’s the least she deserves.
“I also want to make people aware of what cancer can do if it’s not caught early. Watching Beth suffer in the way she did towards the end was awful, so I hope by speaking out, we can help others.”
World Cancer Day is 4 February.