27-year-old Halesowen dad dies after 'delays in cancer treatment'

A Halesowen family is demanding answers after a young father died from cancer after treatment was delayed by medics.

The family of Daniel Hemmings, who have accused the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust of shelving his referral to specialists by more than a year, claim the trust has now admitted to failings in his care.

Daniel, 27, died four years after he first sought medical advice regarding a lump on his lower back which was growing in size and increasingly painful. According to specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell, who are investigating Daniel's treatment, he was referred to Worcestershire Royal Hospital and an MRI scan was undertaken, but no follow-up appointment was then made to review the findings.

He contacted his GP once again with concerns about the lump in March 2011 and was this time referred to Russells Hall Hospital, and after scans was deemed to be a benign tumour which was removed in an operation. However, further tests then confirmed the tumour was in fact a malignant spindle cell sarcoma and a referral was made to the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham.

Daniel’s family claim that he was not informed of this due to a mix-up related to his contact details and was only seen by the hospital in July 2012 when he received his diagnosis. The treatment was then started, but Daniel passed away in March 2014.

Speaking to the Halesowen News, Daniel’s partner Fallon Waldron said:

“It is hard to believe that it has been three years since Daniel passed away and we all miss him so much. I’m just devastated that [the couples son] Harry will never have a lasting relationship with his father, although he often talks about daddy being in the stars.

“It took around two years from Daniel complaining about the lump for it to be recognised for what it was and we are just desperate to know how this could have happened.

“If any good can come from the nightmare we have faced, it is that lessons can be learned which will ensure that the treatment and care received by others can be improved. This should simply not happen again.”

Fallon’s legal team launched action regarding alleged concerns in the care Daniel received at the hospitals operated by the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust and Worcestershire Acute Hospital NHS Trust. 

While both trusts deny liability on the whole, the legal firm claim that Russells Hall chiefs have now admitted that Daniel should have been referred to a specialist cancer team more than a year earlier than he was. Diane Wake, chief executive at the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“We would like to offer our sincere condolences to Daniel’s family. Unfortunately, as there is an ongoing claim, we are unable to comment.”

Jenna Harris, an expert medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, representing Daniel’s family, added: “This is an incredibly tragic case in which a young father has sought treatment and advice related to a lump, but who we believe only got the care he required when it was simply too late.

“While it is welcome that some admissions have been made in the case, we are determined to ensure that Daniel’s family get the answers and justice they deserve regarding his death.”

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