The grieving widower of a nurse who died after her cancer was overlooked told an inquest she was a ‘beautiful… shining star’, whose life came to a ‘painful, traumatic and unnecessary end’.
David Jones, 45, a chartered engineer, said all who knew his late wife Catherine, who died in November 2016 aged just 35, had their lives ‘enriched by her’.
And Mr Jones, who married her in 2010, said the couple had looked forward to travelling the world together.
He said the cardiology nurse had achieved so much but also had ‘so much potential’, and had captured the situation in her own words, telling him before she died that ‘at 35 I have not yet lived my life’.
He described how they had bought their dream home in Hawarden, North Wales, in 2015, but that she didn’t even get to celebrate their first anniversary there.
Widower David Jones, 45, pictured outside the inquest hearing, whose wife Catherine died aged 35 after doctors missed her cancer
Catherine Jones, 35, wanted those responsible to be held to account, her widower told the inquest
By that time, she had been readmitted to Maelor Hospital, Wrexham, having discovered her cancer had been missed during previous tests and had returned, he told the ongoing inquest in Ruthin, Flintshire.
Mr Jones said: ‘The news was devastating and she had not been expecting it, her surprise and disbelief… will haunt me.
‘The enormity of the news in October 2016 opened up beneath us an unstoppable sink hole.’
But he added: ‘Catherine wanted those responsible to be held to account… to prevent others from being at risk.’
Mr Jones said that there had been a series of mistakes at Maelor, including senior clinicians not taking responsibility for listening to patients, not reading scan requests properly and not following appropriate guidelines.
‘Patient safety has been and continues to be compromised,’ he said, adding that it had been ‘horrendous’ to see his ‘wonderful wife be let down’ and ‘to know the situation could have been avoided’.
He added that she had ‘died an undignified and premature death in the hospital she worked in and had trained in’.
Mr Jones was thanked by the coroner, John Gittins, who said he ‘fully acknowledged’ all the efforts Mr Jones had made to make sure the ‘full facts’ were known to him.
Earlier today, the inquest heard details of another of the mistakes in Mrs Jones’s treatment.
Dr Himanshu Patel, a consultant radiologist at Maelor Hospital, was questioned by Louis Browne KC, the barrister representing Mrs Jones’s family, about whether he accepted he ‘misreported’ a 2016 scan.
Mrs Jones (pictured) died in November 2016 after she became unwell again earlier that year
Wrexham Maelor Hospital in North Wales (pictured) where Mrs Jones worked and had her operation
Dr Patel told the inquest: ‘I looked at the scan and thought the ovary was there and that’s how I reported it.’
However, both of Mrs Jones’s ovaries had been removed months earlier in June 2016 when she underwent a hysterectomy to remove a 2.5kg (5 ½ lb) cancerous cyst from her right ovary.
The inquest had heard previously how doctors failed to perform surgery to remove the right ovary and fallopian tube as recommended four years earlier in November 2012 by a senior gynaecological oncologist backed by Mrs Jones herself.
The gynaecological oncologist, Philip Toon, feared a cyst on one of the nurse’s ovaries may have been cancerous.
Mr Toon, now retired, said it was possible Mrs Jones may have survived had the procedure been carried out as he recommended.
Coroner John Gittins has also heard from medical staff about issues with accessing patient records.
Dr Patel agreed he wouldn’t have reported a mass on the left-hand side as an ovary, and would have raised issues, if he had satisfied himself that the surgery mentioned in Mr Toon’s annotations on paperwork had been carried out.
Mr Patel said: ‘I doubted the clinical information. I have taken some learning from this. I now have electronic access to patient records.’
Dr Simon Gollins, a clinical oncologist who’d heard evidence given at the inquest this week, told the coroner that doctors had been ‘wrong-footed’ by the aggressive pace of the disease, after it was rediscovered.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, which runs Maelor Hospital, has accepted a biopsy taken in 2013 was reported wrongly as ‘benign’ when it had been ‘borderline’ cancerous.
Senior coroner Mr Gittins remarked that ‘mistakes happen.’
The inquest is scheduled to conclude tomorrow.
This post first appeared on Daily mail