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Mother dies from cancer after hospital discharged her despite telltale symptoms

The family of a mother who died from bowel cancer after being wrongly discharged from a hospital and left in agony for months have received an apology from the NHS.

Baljeet Kaur, 56, was twice “negligently” sent home from Sandwell Hospital in West Bromwich after she went to A&E displaying telltale symptoms.

She first attended the emergency department with pain, vomiting and rectal bleeding before being discharged following an X-ray in January 2019.

Baljeet, of Smethwick, West Mids., returned a month later where another X-ray was performed but she was once again sent on her way by bungling medics.

A mass was only finally identified in Baljeet’s abdomen following multiple hospital visits and she underwent surgery to remove part of her bowel in April 2019.

She was subsequently diagnosed with bowel cancer but by then it was too late and she died less than a year later in February 2020.

Following Baljeet’s death, her devastated family including daughters, Neetu Kaur, 40, and Amandeep Kaur Bhogal, 38, asked lawyers to investigate her case.

West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust went on to admit Baljeet had been “negligently discharged” in January 2019 and again in February 2019.

Health bosses also agreed that if Baljeet had been diagnosed at that point, she would have avoided two or three months of “pain and suffering”.

Baljeet Kaur and Amandeep Kaur Bhogal

(Irwin Mitchell / SWNS)

Her family have now spoken for the first time about their loss after the trust apologised for the failings.

Amandeep 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.”

Baljeet first attended hospital on 17 January 2019 complaining of bowel problems and was seen again on 22 February 2019.

Following several subsequent hospital visits, a CT scan in March that year found a mass in her abdomen. She underwent bowel surgery on 11 April.

Baljeet received a diagnosis of cancer 3 May 2019. Following further tests, she was referred for palliative care and died on 22 February 2020.

The trust later apologised for the “failings” and “substandard care” that Baljeet received.

Jennifer Shipley, specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing the family 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.”

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