Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Terminally-ill nurse uses final message to hit out at hospital which failed to spot cancer six times in three years

"I think it's disgusting that my life should have been suffering the way it has been and will continue to suffer," said Julie O'Connor as she lay dying in her hospice bed.

She was barely able to whisper but determined to condemn the doctors at the Southmead Hospital who failed to spot her cervical cancer.

Ms O'Connor had been checked for the disease six times in three years.

Three days after recording the harrowing video message, Ms O'Connor died on February 4.

Mrs O'Connor had been a nurse for 13 years. Credit: ITV News

Her husband Kevin O'Connor believes there could be other women who have also been affected.

"People contacted Julie, and they had the same treatment from North Bristol Trust, so we know it's not isolated, we know it's not.

"There's clearly a systemic problem there".

For three years Southmead Hospital in Bristol repeatedly told Ms O'Connor she did not have cancer.

Southmead Hospital in Bristol missed Mrs O'Connor's cancer six times. Credit: ITV News

She first received a smear test in September 2014 but the negative result for cancer was incorrect - her cells were in fact abnormal.

Over the next two years her GP, who worried about persistent bleeding, referred her to hospital a further four times before eventually being diagnosed at a private hospital.

Ms O'Connor felt she had been let down by the NHS she loved. Credit: ITV News

The consultant who diagnosed her at the time said he "didn't know how anybody" could have missed the cancer, adding it was a "4.5cm tumour".

In response, the NHS Trust said an independent review into Ms O'Connor's care would start this month, adding it is "committed to understanding the full circumstances of the care we provided so we can improve our services for the future".

The family have sued North Bristol NHS Trust which runs Southmead Hospital and it has offered damages, but they are determined Ms O'Connor's situation should not happen to anyone else.