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Our mother wasn’t taken seriously — and died of cancer at 44

A mother of five died of endometrial cancer hours after being admitted to A&E following preventable delays in her diagnosis.

An inquest was told that a private clinic identified the cancer by ultrasound but the report was never sent to her GP.

Kerri Mothersole, 44, from Swale in Kent, had a complex medical history including decades of depression and chronic back pain.

Her 21-year-old son, Jordan Dighton, said: “My mum should have been taken more seriously—if she were, maybe she’d still be alive.”

In May 2020 Mothersole presented with symptoms of early menopause. Blood tests showed that she had low iron levels and her symptoms persisted. In March 2021 she told her GP at Green Porch Medical Centre that she had had vaginal bleeding for six weeks.

She could not attend her ultrasound appointments because she was the family’s only driver, and was removed from the waiting list despite rescheduling two appointments.

In June of that year her GP referred her for an NHS scan at HEM Clinical Ultrasound Service in Sittingbourne. A radiographer, who was new to the private clinic, found a suspected ovarian mass. However, the clinical lead deemed the scan results inaccurate so they were never returned to the GP. Instead Mothersole was asked to attend a second pelvic and abdominal scan. She was losing weight and in persistent pain. Despite her symptoms being gynaecological, she underwent what turned out to be a clear colonoscopy. According to the coroner, had the first scan report been seen this would have led to an urgent referral to gynaecology.

Mothersole was eventually admitted to A&E, where she remained under the care of oncology until she was discharged home to the care of hospice nurses.

Dighton told The Times, “The system was so siloed and her case was passed around from department to department. It’s only after her death that we’ve started to make sense of what pathways she should have been on.”

Read full story (paywalled)

Read the Prevention of Future Deaths Report for Kerri Mothersole

Source: The Times, 15 May 2024


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