Don’t let others die like Julie
THE family of a nurse who died after her cancer was repeatedly missed are calling for a review to make sure other people do not suffer her fate.
Julie O’Connor, 49, who was an NHS nurse, died from cervical cancer at St Peter’s Hospice in Bristol on February 4. She had had a cervical smear test in 2014 which came back negative. This was followed by several referrals to Southmead Hospital over the next three years because of the symptoms she was experiencing. After the hospital repeatedly told her she did not have cancer, in 2017 she was diagnosed privately – but by then it was too late.
Julie and her husband Kevin, from Thornbury, successfully sued the North Bristol NHS Trust for negligence. But they also wanted a wide-reaching review which might identify other women who, like Julie, had been missed during the diagnostic process.
The trust has now commissioned an independent investigation which should report back at the end of March.
In a video recorded only days before Julie’s death, Kevin said: "What we’re looking for is a wider review into misdiagnosis and mistreatment to ensure this doesn’t happen to anybody else.”
“Whilst North Bristol trust have accepted negligence, they need to look at the bigger picture now – are there more victims out there?”
"There’s seriously fundamental failings within North Bristol Trust and their cervical cancer screening.”
In the video, Julie said: "It's disgusting I have been suffering the way I have, and I continue to suffer."
Jackie Linehan, of Enable Law, represented Julie in her negligence claim.
She said: “Julie's concern was to ensure other women who may have had false negative smear or biopsy results should be checked, to prevent a wider spread of their cervical cancer and to see if her case was a one-off or not. She also wished to remind women to attend their regular cervical cancer screening.”
North Bristol NHS Trust Medical Director Dr Chris Burton said: “We are extremely sorry to hear that Mrs O’Connor has died; we have her family in our thoughts at this very difficult time and we send our deepest condolences.”
“We are committed to understanding the full circumstances of the care we provided so we can improve our services for the future, and we will be publicly open with the overall findings of the independent investigation we have commissioned.”
Picture: Julie O’Connor recorded a video published on Facebook, above, before her death to raise awareness.