Family of misdiagnosed cervical cancer patient call for NHS inquiry
The family of NHS nurse Julie O’Connor are fighting for an inquiry into her death, after her cervical cancer was misdiagnosed and not spotted by doctors for years.
Julie allegedly had her initial cervical smear test at Bristol’s Southmead Hospital in September 2014, and the test results came back as negative. Even after six further tests, there were allegedly no signs of cancer.
Kevin O’Connor, Julie’s husband, told Good Morning Britain they believed the original pap smear test was ‘misdiagnosed and mistreated’, and this pushed them to get a second opinion.
“It was unfortunate we had to go to a private consultant to get the cancer diagnosis. We have been campaigning for the last two years for an independent review,” he said.
"We sent the smears and biopsies off for independent analysis. They came back as riddled with cancer cells. It was unreasonable that anybody would have missed it, but the hospital was still in denial."
When they received her cancer diagnosis, Mr O'Connor said they were 'dumb struck'.
Julie passed away on 4th February 2019 at the age of 49.
Three days before her death, she sent a video message to the health officials she had believed failed her and her family.
Lying in her hospice bed, she said: "I think it’s disgusting that my life should have been suffering the way it has and will continue to suffer."
Julie's daughter Sophie told GMB: “My mum, she created a really big legacy in our family. She was never negative about any of this...I promised that I would look after my dad and my brother for her.”
The hospital has admitted to negligence and apologised to the O’Connor family, but Mr O'Connor is campaigning for more to be done.
He told GMB he is concerned other cases of cervical cancer have been missed by the hospital.
“Are there more victims? They need to go back to 2014, are there other victims out there?" he asked.
“This is not about the blame… it’s ensuring there are no more victims out there.
“I’m not angry - that’s not going to help us and not going to help Julie - just frustrated. We would just like an independent public inquiry.”
According to Mr O'Connor, the hospital is allegedly doing a partially independent review and is only covering the investigation itself.
A spokesman for the North Bristol NHS Trust said: “We are committed to understanding the full circumstances of the case 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."