Woman who had lump in mouth for six years diagnosed with cancer – after doctors ‘fail to book follow-up’
A young woman who lived with a lump in the side of her mouth for six years has been diagnosed with cancer – after doctors failed to book her a follow-up appointment.
Jordan Del’Nero, 25, was first taken to A&E by her concerned parents in August 2012 after she complained about the lump.
She also had toothache and a swollen mouth, but was prescribed antibiotics and later referred to a specialist dental hospital.
There, she was given more antibiotics for a suspected cyst or infected salivary gland.
In August 2013, she was referred back to the Charles Clifford Dental Hospital after she had more pain in the lump and her gums started bleeding.
But Jordan and her family claim they were never contacted by the hospital for a follow-up appointment, so assumed the lump didn’t need any more medical attention.
In January 2019, Jordan started having toothache again and after having a series of scans and a biopsy, she was diagnosed with salivary gland cancer.
She had surgery just three months after her diagnosis, which included removing five teeth, a jaw removal and reconstruction and taking a skin graft from her left leg.
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 hospital.
“I couldn’t talk for a few days and had to write messages on a pad. I struggled to eat for about two weeks after leaving 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. 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 to help raise awareness of oral cancer, especially in young people.”
Jordan, who is married to her wife Amy, has now instructed medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate her care at Charles Clifford Dental Hospital.
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, 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 has said they are “unable to offer an explanation” of why she wasn’t seen.
Jordan, who lives in Sheffield, said: “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.
“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. 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.”
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.”