By Ranjana Srivastava – The Guardian.
Oncologists told Bronte Doyne to stop Googling her symptoms. She died of a rare cancer. Doctors must go back to listening and genuine caring.
Few doctors could have read about Bronte Doyne and not thought: “There but for the grace of God go I.”
Doyne was 19 when she succumbed to an extremely rare form of liver cancer whose recurrence went undiagnosed because doctors, specialists and GPs at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust failed to listen or believe her complaints. Her increasingly urgent pleas for help were met with an admonishment to “stop Googling” her symptoms.
Her messages, made public last week by her courageous mother, are heartbreaking in their innocence and despair. Less than a month before she died she wrote of a consultant. “He said it’s inoperable at the moment. Don’t really know what that means.” Close to the end she wrote, “Can’t begin to tell you how it feels to have to tell an oncologist they are wrong. I had to, I’m fed up of trusting them.”
The recurrence of a rare cancer was always going to be bad news, whatever the timing of its discovery. But to highlight this in Doyne’s case misses the point that early diagnosis would have enabled the teenager to access the pain management that she was denied, expert cancer care that she deserved and hospice care that was too little too late… read the full article.