Family's heartache as Smethwick mother dies of bowel cancer after being sent away from A&E twice

Lessons should be learned over the death of a "loving" mother in the Black Country who died from bowel cancer after a late diagnosis, her family has said.

Baljeet and Amandeep
Baljeet and Amandeep

Baljeet Kaur, from Smethwick, died in February 2020 despite having attended A&E at Sandwell General Hospital several times starting from January 17, 2019.

But the cancer wasn't identified at those visits and she was discharged, only to keep returning with a persistent issue leading to her diagnosis on May 3, 2019.

Health chiefs have since apologised for the late diagnosis after the issue was investigated by lawyers from Irwin Mitchell, who acted on behalf of the family.

Baljeet's family

Mrs Kaur's daughter Amandeep Kaur Bhogal, who instructed the medical negligence specialists alongside sister Neetu Kaur and other family members, said: "To lose mum less than a year after her diagnosis was truly heart-breaking and something we were in no way prepared for.

“She was the most loving mum and would have done anything for anybody. It’s really tough for us to accept that she’s no longer here, particularly after finding out it was terminal just one month after her surgery.

“Cancer is a terrible disease and it’s taken away one of the most important people in our lives. What makes it worse is that we feel like more could have been done to help mum and we feel we raised our concerns several times.

“We would give anything to have mum back with us, but we know that’s not possible. To watch her in so much pain and suffering towards the end was the worst, and all we can hope for now is that by sharing our story we can raise awareness of bowel cancer. Catching it early could be the difference between life and death for other families.”

Mrs Kaur first attended hospital on January 17, 2019, complaining of bowel problems – having symptoms of pain, vomiting and rectal bleeding. She received an X-ray before being discharged.

She was seen at A&E once again on February 22 where another X-ray was taken and she again went home. The mother visited the hospital several times with a CT scan in March finding a mass in her abdomen.

Mrs Kaur underwent bowel surgery on April 11 – leaving her with a stoma – before she ultimately received a diagnosis of cancer on May 3, 2019. Following further tests she was referred for palliative care and died on February 22, 2020.


Jennifer Shipley, the specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Neetu and Amandeep, said: “The last two years have understandably been incredibly difficult for Baljeet’s loved ones. Neetu, Amandeep and the family have struggled to come to terms with losing their mum so quickly after her initial symptoms and subsequent diagnosis.

“Their grieving was made worse by all the questions and concerns they had over the care provided to their mum prior to her death, and whether more could have been done to help her.

“While it’s sadly too late for Baljeet, we welcome the trust’s admissions. It’s now vital that lessons are learned to help prevent others from suffering how Baljeet did.

“Neetu and Amandeep wanted to share their mum’s story to make others aware of the signs to look out for when it comes to bowel cancer. Early detection and treatment is key to beating this disease.”

The lawyers said the Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, which runs Sandwell General Hospital, had admitted Mrs Kaur was "negligently discharged" and if she had been diagnosed early she would have avoided two or three months of "pain and suffering".

Mark Anderson, chief medical officer at the trust, said: "We would like to offer our deepest condolences to the family of Ms Kaur and are very sorry for the delay in diagnosis."

Baljeet and Amandeep
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