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Sherwin (27) is originally from Bermuda and lives in Leeds with his partner, Latroya and their baby son who is just three months old. He has another young son, who lives in Bermuda with his former partner.
A few days before the COVID-19 lockdown began on 23 March, Sherwin went to Leeds General Infirmary and the city’s St. James’ Hospital with chronic pain in his right leg, the right side of his buttock, and a hard lump in his rectum. Initially, he was referred to a sexual health clinic, but multiple blood tests confirmed he did not have a sexually transmitted disease.
Another doctor then misdiagnosed his condition as prostatitis, in which the prostate gland becomes inflamed. But Sherwin instinctively knew the chronic pain he was suffering and the hard, golf ball-like lump in his rectum was not prostate-related.
He was seen by three different urologists between April and May and repeatedly asked them for an MRI scan, but no one would scan him. Doctors continued to insist that his lump was either protruding tissue or a prostate problem and he was prescribed a four-week course of antibiotics.
Sherwin explains: “I didn’t believe them. I did my own research and knew it was something else. I kept begging them in April and May to give me an MRI scan, but no one would listen. Both my GP and my consultant told me that I couldn’t get one because scanning services were slowed down because of the coronavirus.”
By this time, Sherwin’s pain had become excruciating and at one particularly low point, he felt so unwell and so exhausted, that he was almost suicidal.
He was then referred to a fourth urologist who said the diagnosis of prostatitis was “ludicrous” and diagnosed him with an abscess. Within two hours, he had Sherwin booked into theatre to drain the abscess, however, still there was no scan.
Five days after his surgical procedure, Sherwin was still in agonising pain and losing muscle mass and power in his right leg.
After 13 visits to hospital in four weeks and after pleading with doctors for nearly two months to be given a scan, Sherwin finally had an MRI on 26 May. The scan revealed the shocking truth – Sherwin had a large, round cell sarcoma (a malignant tumour) measuring 14cm in his pelvis and 30 small tumours in his lungs. Doctors say his cancer is particularly aggressive and fast-growing.
Following his scan, his oncologist admitted that had they diagnosed his cancer months’ back, his prognosis would have been better. As it stands currently, Sherwin is fighting for his life and is facing an uncertain future.
He is being supported by our specialist lawyer and patient safety expert Mary Smith, and recently spoke to BBC Yorkshire and Jeremy Vine on BBC Radio Two to tell his story and raise awareness of the issue.
Sherwin told The Guardian: “I’m fighting for my life because I didn’t have a scan. I should have had the scan months earlier but did not because normal NHS care was suspended because of the coronavirus.
Credit: BBC Yorkshire
“I’m angry, frustrated and disappointed. And I’m devastated that I might lose my life to cancer that could have been cured if they had done what they were supposed to do [more quickly].”
Click here to listen to Sherwin talk movingly about his tragic story in the excellent Guardian podcast ‘How cancer was sidelined in the fight against COVID-19’.
Mary Smith, Associate Legal Director of Novum Law, and an expert on medical law and patient safety, says:
“This is a truly shocking and tragic case involving a young father who instinctively knew he was seriously unwell but was continually fobbed off and repeatedly refused an MRI scan. Sherwin made 13 increasingly desperate trips to A&E in four weeks, but no one would listen to him.
“The fact that he waited over two months for a scan meant that by the time he finally had an MRI and received an accurate diagnosis, his cancer had become more advanced and spread to his lungs.
“Cancer does not care if there is a global pandemic. It is vital that patients have access to the urgent diagnostics and treatment they need. Seriously unwell patients should never have to beg for scans.
“The priority now is to find out what happened in Sherwin’s case and to work with the hospital involved to really understand what went wrong. Sherwin’s overriding concern is that whatever went wrong for him does not happen to anyone else. Clearly, urgent change is needed in the healthcare sector to improve patient safety, save lives and prevent tragedies like this from happening to others.”
Sherwin Hall has set up a Go Fund Me page to raise funds so he can potentially access private cancer treatment overseas and provide more financial security for his young family.
If you or a loved one has suffered due to misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, delayed treatment, treatment errors or any other type of medical negligence, then please get in touch. Call Novum Law on Freephone 0800 884 0777, email: email@example.com or complete the enquiry form on this page.