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Sheffield woman diagnosed with cancer after 5 years attending hospital

Sheffield woman diagnosed with cancer after 5 years attending hospital

A young Sheffield woman who was diagnosed with cancer more than five years after attending hospital with a lump in her mouth has secured a payout.

Sheffield Star

Jordan Del’Nero, from Westfield, Sheffield, had to undergo surgery to remove the tumour when it was discovered. Part of her jaw had to be removed and reconstructed, with five teeth extracted and a skin graft taken from her left leg. She endured severe leg pain for months after the skin graft and was forced to take time off from her job as a catering assistant.

Jordan, now aged 25, was just 15 when in August 2013 she was referred to Charles Clifford Dental Hospital, which is run by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Trust, due to concerns about a lump in the left side of her mouth. In the previous 12 months she had sought medical advice and been prescribed antibiotics to treat the lump.

She said neither she nor her parents had been contacted about a follow-up appointment, leading them to believe she did not need to be seen by doctors. More than five years later, in January 2019, Jordan started suffering bad toothache and was prescribed antibiotics and told to visit hospital by a GP. Following scans and a biopsy, she was diagnosed the following month with salivary gland cancer.

Jordan determined to raise awareness of oral cancer in young people
Jordan is now calling for lessons to be learned, after lawyers at Irwin Mitchell secured her an undisclosed settlement from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals to help fund the ongoing care and treatment she requires.

“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,” she said. “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.”

Irwin Mitchell said the trust had initially denied a breach of duty but subsequently admitted that Jordan had been added to the system as a ‘new routine’ appointment rather than an ‘urgent’ case as she should have been. The law firm said there was ‘no evidence’ she had been contacted either by phone or by mail for an appointment to be arranged, with the trust unable to explain why she wasn’t seen.

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals ‘sincerely apologises’ and says changes have been made
Dr Jennifer Hill, medical director at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Trust, said: “Jordan should have attended for an urgent appointment in 2013 and it is unclear whether an appointment was sent to her and why this did not happen. I would like to sincerely apologise to Jordan for the impact this has had on her physical and mental well-being and appreciate that this will have been very distressing. I can assure her that we have taken what happened seriously and made changes to prevent it happening again.

“All new patient referrals for our dental service are now managed by a central Patient Booking Hub and we have introduced a new system that enables better tracking of referrals. Patient correspondence is sent via an electronic system which tracks correspondence from the time it is produced to when it reaches Royal Mail.”

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