A tragic dad died when his cancer treatment was delayed by almost a YEAR – after two bungling hospital trusts mixed up his contact details and misdiagnosed him.
Daniel Hemmings died at the age of 27 from soft tissue cancer after a series of mix ups which meant he only got treatment “when it was simply too late”.
The dad-of-one, of Dudley, West Mids., first visited his GP in 2010 after becoming concerned about a lump on his lower back.
However, a succession of errors meant that he was misdiagnosed with a benign tumour in September 2011, which was removed in March 2012.
When doctors finally discovered that the security guard had soft tissue cancer, a blunder with contact details meant he didn’t receive the diagnosis until July 2012.
Before his death in March 2014 Daniel, who was dad to six-year-old Harry, instructed lawyers Irwin Mitchell to investigate his poor treatment.
His partner Fallon Waldron, 28, is now continuing to seek justice following his death.
She said: “It is hard to believe that it has been three years since Daniel passed away.
“We all miss him so much.
“It is hard to believe that it took around two years from Daniel complaining about the lump for it to be recognised for what it was, and we are desperate to know how this could have happened.
“I’m devastated that our son Harry will never have a lasting relationship with his father, although he often talks about Daddy being in the stars.
“And Daniel’s mum, Gill, is devastated, too.
“If any good can come from the nightmare we have faced, it is that lessons can be learned which will ensure that the treatment and care received by others can be improved.
“This should simply not happen again.”
After visiting his GP in 2010, Daniel was referred to the Worcestershire Royal Hospital for an MRI scan, but no follow-up appointment was made to review the findings.
In March 2011 he revisited the GP after discovering that the lump was growing and causing him pain.
A year later, the tumour was removed after staff at Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley wrongly diagnosed it as being benign.
Later tests revealed that Daniel had malignant spindle cell sarcoma, a form of connective tissue cancer.
A decision was made to refer him to the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Northfield, Birmingham, but he was not informed due to a mix up in contact details.
In July 2012, Daniel was finally seen by hospital, where he received the shock diagnosis.
Although he started treatment immediately, it was too late and he passed away in March 2014.
Irwin Mitchell launched legal action concerning Daniel’s care at hospitals operated by Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust and Worcestershire Acute Hospital NHS Trust.
Both trusts denied liability, but the Dudley Group admitted that he should have been referred to a specialist cancer team a year earlier than he was.
They admitted they failed to refer him to a specialist sarcoma team in September 2011, and the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has also apologised.
Diane Wake, Chief Executive of the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust: “We would like to offer our sincere condolences to Daniel’s family. Unfortunately, as there is an ongoing claim, we are unable to comment.”
A spokesman for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust added: “We would like to offer our sincere condolences to Daniel’s family. Unfortunately, as the claim is ongoing, we are unable to comment further at this time.”
Jenna Harris, an expert medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “This is an incredibly tragic case in which a young father has sought treatment and advice related to a lump, but who we believe only got the care he required when it was simply too late.
“While it is welcome that some admissions have been made in the case, we are determined to ensure that Daniel’s family get the answers and justice they deserve regarding his death.
“This case has raised very serious concerns and it is vital that steps are taken to ensure the same problems never happen again.”