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Father, 27, died after ‘delays in treatment’

By Richard Guttridge | Halesowen | News | Published:

A father died at 27 after his cancer went untreated for a year when doctors ‘failed to refer him to specialists’.

Wolves fan Daniel Hemmings with his son during his treatment

Daniel Hemmings, from Halesowen, first went to hospital in 2010 after finding a lump on his lower back.

He had an MRI scan at Worcestershire Royal Hospital but no follow-up appointment was made so he assumed everything was fine.

But a year later, the security worker went back to his GP as he was still concerned about the lump.

He was referred to Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley where, following an MRI and ultrasound scan in September 2011, he was told it was deemed to be a benign tumour and it was removed in an operation six months later.

However, further tests revealed the tumour was in fact a malignant spindle cell sarcoma and a referral was made to the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham.

Loving father – Daniel with son Harry

According to his family, Wolves fan Mr Hemmings was not informed of the discovery 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.

Treatment was then started, but Daniel passed away in March 2014.

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Before his death, Mr Hemmings instructed lawyers from Irwin Mitchell to look into his treatment, a cause which has been continued by his family. The firm alleges failings by both Dudley Group NHS Trust and Worcestershire Acute Hospital NHS Trust, which run the hospitals.

The firm also said that Russells Hall chiefs had now accepted the father should have been referred to a specialist sarcoma team following the scans in September 2011. Both trusts deny liability.

Mr Hemmings’ partner Fallon Waldron, 28, mother to six-year-old Harry, said: “I’m just devastated that Harry will never have a lasting relationship with his father, although he often talks about Daddy being in the stars. Daniel’s mum, Gill, is devastated.

“It is hard to believe that 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.

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"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.”

Jenna Harris, an expert medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “While both trusts deny liability on the whole, the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust has 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 of 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."

A spokesperson for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust also offered condolences but said the trust was unable to comment.

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
@RichG_star

Reporter for the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton

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