Woman who found lump six years ago diagnosed with cancer after doctors failed to book appointment
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A young woman who found a lump in her mouth six years ago was diagnosed with salivary gland cancer after doctors 'failed' to book a follow-up an appointment.
Jordan Del’Nero, 25, complained of a lump in the side of her mouth and was taken to A&E by her parents in August 2012.
Jordan experienced a toothache and a swollen mouth, and was prescribed antibiotics for what doctors wrongly dismissed as a 'suspected cyst or infected salivary gland'.
She was referred to Charles Clifford Dental Hospital and was sent home with more antibiotics for her symptoms.
Later, Jordan was again referred back to the specialist dental hospital in August 2013, after she had severe 'pain' in the lump followed by 'bleeding gums'.
Jordan and her family said that the hospital never contacted them for a follow- up appointment, so they assumed that the lump didn't need more medical attention.
Jordan was finally diagnosed with salivary gland cancer in January 2019 after a series of scans and biopsy following the reoccurrence of severe toothache.
Jordan said: "Things started to change in early 2019. When I went back to the hospital, I was now older and very anxious that it might be something more sinister than a cyst.
"When I was told I had cancer I felt numb - I can’t remember too much following my surgery other than lying there in the hospital.
"I couldn’t talk for a few days and had to write messages on a pad - struggled to eat for about two weeks after leaving the hospital.
"I was reliant on my family and my wife for everything. Even four years on I’m still coming to terms with my diagnosis and my appearance."
Jordan underwent surgery three months after her shock diagnosis, which included the removal of five teeth and a jaw removal and reconstruction by taking a skin graft from her left leg.
Jordan said: "I have scars on my neck and leg from surgery and would like to have dental implants to replace my lost teeth.
"I try and remain as positive as possible but sometimes I do worry about what the future may hold.
"I just hope that by speaking out I can help others who may be going through something similar and help raise awareness of oral cancer, especially in young people."
Jordan is married to her wife Amy, and they have now instructed medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate her care at Charles Clifford Dental Hospital.
Nicola Ashton, an expert medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: "Jordan has suffered an incredibly tough number of years, first living with the tumour and then having to come to terms with her diagnosis and subsequent treatment.
"During the course of our investigations, worrying issues came to light regarding Jordan’s care.
"While we’re pleased to have settled this case allowing Jordan to focus on the future and her ongoing recovery, it’s also vital that lessons are now learned to improve patient safety and care for others."
However, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the dental hospital under its umbrella, originally denied a breach of duty.
But eventually they admitted that Jordan was added to their system as a 'new routine' appointment instead of an 'urgent' appointment.
There was also 'no evidence' that she was contacted to arrange an appointment and the trust have said they are 'unable to offer an explanation' of why she wasn't seen.
"When I was first seen at Charles Clifford Dental Hospital I wasn’t too concerned, I was young and at no stage did the doctors give the impression there was anything to be worried about," Jordan expressed.
"When I went back around a year later I didn’t receive a follow-up appointment so we assumed it must be something for us not to worry about."
She added: "If we had received an appointment I know my mum or dad would have taken me.
"Over the next few years, the lump remained and I presumed it was something that I just had to live with."