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Woman dies a week after finding out she has cancer – despite hospital knowing for months

Francesca Specter
Yahoo Style UK deputy editor
Beverley passed away just one week after being told she had cancer. [Photo: SWNS]

A woman has died after just one week’s notice of her terminal cancer diagnosis.

Yet the hospital where she was being treated had known for months.

Beverley Smith, 63, from Truro, Cornwall, had a bone biopsy taken on 14 March 2018. Results of this procedure are usually ready within days.

Smith’s cancer diagnosis came on the 26 April, according to the BBC, yet it was not communicated until 11 July.

Six days later, on 17 July, a computerised tomography (CT) scan confirmed the cancer was terminal – and Smith passed away days later.

Ben Smith, Beverley’s son, had been a full-time carer for his mother, who was paralysed in a car crash in 1972, for the past six years.

Ben had just one week to say goodbye to his mother, Beverley. [Photo: SWNS]

He said his mother’s last months would have been very different, had the family known of her diagnosis.

“If we’d known she had cancer she could have come home for three months and we could have had that time together,” he told SWNS.

“They wouldn’t have had to do all the invasive treatments, the injections, blood tests every day – twice a day sometimes.

“She never had the opportunity to say the things she would like to have said to my boys, her grandsons.

“The funeral arrangements and financial decisions she could have put in place, and friends and family could have visited her before she died.”

While he was finally able to take her home on 20 July, it was only two days before his mother passed away on 22 July.

“I was told that mum’s cancer was terminal and nothing could be done.

“I said I would like to take her home as she didn’t want to die in hospital.”

Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, Devon, and the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro, Cornwall, have released a joint statement to apologise for Smith’s experience.

“We would like to sincerely apologise for the distress that Mrs Smith’s family have been caused,” said a representative.

“We are sorry that the care Mrs Smith received was below both her family’s and the Trust’s expectations.

“We know that communication can be a challenge with other health care providers and we are working together to ensure that we get this right every time for our patients.”

Additional reporting by SWNS/John Bett. 

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