A mum of two with cancer has been given just weeks to live after being “badly let down” by doctors at an NHS hospital in Derbyshire, her husband has claimed.
Sarah Middleton, 48, visited the A&E department at the Royal Derby Hospital twice after suffering from sudden sharp chest pains. She alleges she was sent home with her symptoms dismissed. Two months later, in May 2022, she was diagnosed with diffuse large B cell lymphoma – an advanced form of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Sarah told ED!: “I put all my symptoms at first down to the menopause: night sweats; fatigue – but I was a busy working mum. I was a runner and my times were getting slower and slower and I couldn’t figure out why. It was only when I had the bad chest pain that I thought it may be serious. Blood cancer is the 5th largest cancer in the UK but who knows anything about it? I didn’t and look at me now.”
Her devastated husband, Marius Grigoriu, has now said “barring some kind of miracle, we’re almost certainly going to lose Sarah”. The family have now set up a GoFundMe page to pay for one last round of chemotherapy for Sarah. It’s hoped it will prolong her life so that she can see her daughter turn 15 this July.
The family have raised almost £13,000 of their £145,000 target.
Mum with cancer ‘badly let down’ by NHS hospital
Sarah said she first visited the hospital in March 2022 after suffering from chest pains and a temperature of 37.5C. She had a number of tests which revealed her pain and the high temperature could’ve been as a result of malignancy – a cancerous tumour – or a pulmonary embolism – a blocked blood vessel in her lungs. She was sent home with blood thinners and told to return two days later for a VQ scan to check for pulmonary embolisms.
When she had the scan, the results came back clear. She also had a “basic chest X-ray”. Sarah alleges that the prospect of malignancy was not then investigated. She said that she believes had it been followed up by a full-body CT scan, the cancer would’ve been spotted.
At the same appointment, Sarah pointed out a swelling in her abdomen. A staff member advised it was probably “post-Covid inflammation” and that there was nothing seriously wrong.
However, over the next two months, her stomach continued to bloat until she appeared “pregnant”. Sarah self-referred for a CT scan at Royal Derby Hospital. She was sadly was diagnosed with cancer of the lymph nodes in her abdomen a week later.
It was already “very advanced”, her husband said. However, Sarah claims she only got the results after going back to A&E again when her pain became too much to bear.
Months in NHS hospital for cancer treatment
Sarah spent four months in hospital as an in-patient until her chemotherapy ended in September. However, weeks later she was sadly told it hadn’t worked and that the prognosis was poor. The cancer has now spread to her chest.
Her husband alleged to the Derby Telegraph: “The fact that now, barring some kind of miracle, we’re almost certainly going to lose Sarah, is horrendous. She probably wouldn’t be in the position she is in now and on end-of-life care if they’d have investigated it two months earlier. It’s horrific. Sarah was badly let down.”
GoFundMe page set up
Marius has spent time researching alternative treatment options for his wife. However, she was turned down for clinical trials in America, Germany and Japan. He now hopes to pay for one last round of chemotherapy so that Sarah sees her daughter turn 15 this July.
It’s been a terrifying experience for all of us.
He said: “Words don’t really exist for how bad it is. Our family’s been torn to pieces basically. My daughters aren’t going to have a mother now and won’t be able to turn to her for the small things like a bit of emotional support of something. They’re not going to have that now. It’s been a terrifying experience for all of us.”
Sarah told ED!: “I would encourage anyone with night sweats, itchy skin, unexplained weight loss, fatigue or growth to get checked out sooner than later.
“I really want to raise awareness. If I’d known about lymphoma I would have insisted that they checked for it. A couple of my friends have been to the doctor to get their symptoms checked out since my diagnosis.
“If one person can be saved by this information then my plight hasn’t been in vain.”
Royal Derby Hospital responds
Dr Sreeman Andole, interim executive medical director, told ED!: “We understand that this must be an extremely distressing situation for Sarah and her family. Our thoughts are with them all at this difficult time. Unfortunately cancers can sometimes be complex, and each type of cancer is diagnosed and treated in a particular way.
“We would welcome Sarah’s family contacting us directly so that we can fully investigate her case, provide support, and answer their questions and concerns.”
To support Sarah and her family, visit her GoFundMe page.
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