A U.K. teen cancer victim’s mother recently revealed through messages left behind by her daughter that doctors instructed the teen to “stop googling” the symptoms of her rare disease and didn’t take her concerns seriously.
Lorraine Doyne, the mother of 19-year-old Bronte Doyne, released messages and diary entries written by her daughter prior to her death, detailing the neglect and desperate pain she felt while battling fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma, a rare liver cancer, the Daily Mail reports. Doyne, from Edwalton, Nottingham, reportedly had surgery in 2011 to remove the cancer, and was told repeatedly over the next 16 months that she’d recover fully.
According to Doyne's tweets, text messages and diary entries, she soon began to research the disease and discovered that it has a high likelihood of returning. She expressed her concerns to doctors at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, who told her to “stop googling.” Just as she and her mother feared, however, the cancer took her life on March 23, 2013.
Up until just weeks before her death, Doyne — knowing that something didn’t feel right — expressed her fears in messages.
“Need answers. Want to know what’s going on,” she wrote in a text message. “Something’s not right. I’m sick of this.”
Just two days before she died, Doyne voiced her frustration with doctors who continued to ignore her pleas for help.
“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,” she wrote.
Mrs Doyne, 50, recently released the messages and diaries written by her daughter, in the hopes that they will expose what she calls a “woeful lack of care and empathy” from “aloof and evasive” doctors, according to the Daily Mirror.
“We had no information forthcoming and the only sources we found were through our own research,” Mrs Doyne said. “We found a website for the Fibrolamellar Cancer Foundation, which is based in the United States, and it included an international forum.
"It's not just some pathetic website on Google, it's been endorsed by the White House in publications, and was the only contact we had to get some awareness about this disease," Mrs Doyne continued. "But that information was dismissed here. I told the clinician that I knew what was happening to my daughter and something needed to be done but I was just told to 'stop Googling.' The messages from Bronte are all her own words and I believe that's more powerful for people to understand what she went through.”
After Doyne’s messages were made public, Dr Stephen Fowlie, a medical director at NUH NHS Trust, spoke out and apologized for the lack of “communication” leading up to her death.
“We explored all potential treatments, including participation in trials at other centres when her cancer returned. Sadly, there were no further surgical, chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment options for Bronte's very aggressive cancer,” he said.
“We apologise [sic] that our communication with Bronte and her family fell short," he added. "We did not listen with sufficient attention. We should have referred Bronte to the expert support available from the Teenage Cancer Trust much sooner. We are sharing the learning from Bronte's experience. Lorraine is assisting us to improve how we help patients.”
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