Stoke & Staffordshire

NHS 'failed' spinal cancer death woman

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Media captionMrs Whitehouse said the NHS had "failed" her

The NHS "failed" a woman whose fatal spinal cancer went undiagnosed for months, it has been claimed.

Patricia Ann Whitehouse visited her GP seven times in two months complaining of back pain, her family said.

She also went to hospital but was discharged with Paracetamol. The 62-year-old was eventually diagnosed with multiple tumours and died on Tuesday.

University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust said it would "immediately investigate".

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Trent Vale Medical Practice said it was a "tragic" case but it could not comment.

In a video recorded before she died and released to the BBC, Mrs Whitehouse said: "The doctors have failed me, the NHS has failed me."

Her son, Chris, said he wanted medics to admit they had made mistakes.

'Sincere condolences'

GPs diagnosed Mrs Whitehouse twice with a urinary tract infection, and later a twisted spine, between September and October 2016.

During that time she was also sent home with painkillers after spending nine hours on a trolley at Royal Stoke University Hospital A&E - a centre which has previously struggled with waiting times.

Mrs Whitehouse, from Stoke-on-Trent, was eventually told her condition was terminal in November after being diagnosed with two tumours on her right lung and one on her spine.

She underwent an operation in which she had rods fitted in her back, but was later paralysed by a fall during recovery at Bradwell Hospital while she was being moved, her brother Anthony said.

It made her ineligible for further treatment due to the risk of contracting an infection, he added.

Image caption The hospital said it would "immediately investigate" Mrs Whitehouse's treatment


9 September 2016: Mrs Whitehouse first visited Trent Vale Medical Practice in Stoke-on-Trent

13 October: She waited for nine hours on a trolley in Royal Stoke University Hospital A&E before being sent home with Paracetamol

5 November: Her son Chris found her sitting on the floor at home eating cereal because she could not move so they returned to A&E

6 November: Mrs Whitehouse had an operation after two CT scans and an MRI discovered two tumours on her right lung and one on her spine

7 February 2017: The 62-year-old died, having told the BBC she had been failed by doctors

Image caption Chris Whitehouse said he wanted medics to admit they had made a mistake

Mrs Whitehouse's family has written a letter of complaint to the trust.

Her son said: "We want them to admit it's a mistake and we want them to learn from it."

Paula Clark, chief executive of the trust, offered her "sincere condolences" to the family.

She said she had asked for "an immediate investigation" and the trust "would support Mrs Whitehouse's family" throughout.

Trent Vale Medical Practice said it was unable to comment on the case "due to patient confidentiality" but it had been a "tragic and complex case" and offered its "deepest condolences".

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