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18-year-old dies of stomach cancer after doctors ignore her symptoms

18-year-old dies of stomach cancer after doctors ignore her symptoms

Despite visiting the doctor in constant agony, medics believed that 18-year-old Georgia Marrison was suffering adverse effects from trying to lose weight. However, the teenager has since died of a rare and aggressive form of stomach cancer, which had spread to her eyes and ovaries before her death.

Doctors ignored her pain and weightloss

In May 2014, Georgia Marrison visited her GP complaining of being in constant agony, unable to keep any food down. In the run up to her A-Level exams, Georgia, an 18-year-old from Rotherham, found that she was feeling unusually run down. She noticed that when she awoke in the mornings her eyes were swelling and she vomited shortly after every meal. She initially visited a walk-in centre where she was diagnosed with dietary anemia and prescribed iron tablets.

As her symptoms continued and her health deteriorated, she visited her doctor on six separate occasions. Despite losing two stone in weight and collapsing on the stairs of the surgery, her concerns were dismissed. Her mother, Mrs Marrison – an admissions clerk – said that on one occasion, a doctor told her daughter: “Georgia you are looking very pale and I know what you 18-year-old girls are like for wanting to look like stick insects”.

Georgia felt distressed that her symptoms were being ignored, asking her family “Why won’t anybody believe me”. Mrs Marrison eventually took her daughter to the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield in September 2014, where she was diagnosed with a rare form of stomach cancer, which had spread to her ovaries and her eyes. Georgia died just two months later on 11 November.

Although Georgia’s cancer was so aggressive it is unlikely that prompt treatment would have been able to save her, Mrs Marrison is outraged that her daughter’s concerns weren’t taken seriously due to her age. She stated:

“I realise that the outcome would have been the same but her suffering could have been less. The impression we got was that it looked to GPs that she was just a silly teenage girl who wanted to be thin.

‘If GPs are just going to ignore the warning signs because someone is 18, 19 or 20 then their actions are wrong”.

Increased medical awareness and vigilance needed for young people

Supporting Mrs Marrison’s concerns, a major international study released this week has revealed that delays in referrals for tests affects cancer survival rates in the UK, with patients likely to die earlier than in Scandinavia, Australia and Canada – countries where patients are up to five times more likely to be sent for X-rays and tests.

Sam Smith, head of nursing and clinical services at the Teenage Cancer Trust said that Georgia’s case is not uncommon. She stated that one in four youths with cancer visit their GP four times or more being referred for specialist treatment, as she urged doctors to be “more vigilant with young people”. Meanwhile, Cancer Research acknowledged the seriousness of the issue, but made clear that cases of teenage stomach cancer are incredibly rare – with four cases per 100,000 aged 15 to 19 year olds recorded between 2008 and 2011.

The symptoms of stomach cancer to look out for include a prolonged lack of appetite and a sensation of feeling full, weight loss, fluid in the abdomen, blood in stools and difficulty swallowing.

Obtaining compensation for hospital and gp negligence

You are entitled to expect a certain standard of treatment from those providing medical assistance to you. If this treatment falls below standard you may be entitled to recover the cost of the private medical treatment needed to correct the failings on the part of those originally treating you. Our goal at IBB Solicitors is to obtain justice for victims of the negligence by others, by securing compensation that reflects their pain and suffering, as well as related financial losses including loss of earnings, treatment costs and specialist care costs.

If you want to enquire about making a hospital, dentist or gp negligence claim, please contact one of our medical negligence solicitors on 01895 207835 or 01895 207295. Alternatively, you can send an email with your name and contact information and brief details as to the nature of the accident/clinical negligence and the injuries sustained to malcolm.underhill@ibblaw.co.uk and one of our team will be able to help you.