Father seeking answers after partner's cancer went undetected

A father is hoping for answers following his partner’s death after a hospital missed her cancer diagnosis.

By David Sedgwick
Friday, 5th November 2021, 11:00 am
Simon Dodd and his partner Jennifer Mason.
Simon Dodd and his partner Jennifer Mason.

Simon Dodd is now fighting to ensure no other family has to suffer following his partner Jennifer Mason’s death after doctors missed her cervical cancer.

In September 2019, Jennifer had raised concerns about her health after two smear tests with her GP had proved inconclusive and she was referred to the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Hospital (NSEH), in Cramlington.

But before the mum-of-five could attend the appointment, she was rushed to hospital in an emergency where doctors said she had cysts on her ovaries.

Simon Dodd, his partner Jennifer Mason and their children Deja, 11, Esyka, 7, Kiefyn, 8, Brennan, 14, and Xander, 5.

Simon, of Ashington, said: “They scanned her and you could see the cysts but they didn’t see the cancer on the scans either.

"The hospital discharged her but six months later she was rushed back in after bleeding heavily again where they diagnosed her with possible advanced cervical cancer.”

Jennifer, 36, was sent to Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital for treatment, undergoing radiotherapy, chemotherapy and brachytherapy before a pelvic exenteration, removing her bowel, bladder, womb and cervix.

After recovering at home for a few months, Jennifer was rushed back into hospital where she stayed for another 78 days between June and September 6 this year and Simon says a mix-up between doctors and nurses meant they were not told her cancer had returned to her pelvis.

Simon Dodd and his partner Jennifer Mason.

Jennifer and Simon were not told how long she had left, and began planning for holidays and Christmas together with their children.

But after returning from a holiday to Haggerston Castle, Jennifer’s condition deteriorated rapidly and she died at NSEH on October 6.

Simon said: “She was the love of my life. I told her every day that I loved her.

"We’d been together 17 years and had planned on getting married, we were just waiting for the outcome of this.

"I’d even started looking into getting married at home as she was confined to a wheelchair.

"She was bubbly, outgoing and straight to the point.

"She liked organising parties for everyone and made me build a bar in the garden along with a hot tub.

"She had friends all over the place. I’ve lived here all my life and she moved up here to be with me, yet she has more friends than me.

"Jennifer was genuine and authentic. People came to her for advice on anything.

"She was someone I thought I’d spend the rest of my life with, not just the rest of her life.

"We weren’t under any impression she didn’t have long left.”

Simon also thanked those who left tributes for Jennifer as well as raised money for Autism UK and her funeral costs, with businesses around the region offering prizes.

Simon added: “I’m fighting for women’s health, I want to get the word out. I don’t want to see anyone else go through this or scared off from having a smear test.

"We’ve never had a direct apology from the Trust.”

An inquest into Jennifer’s death was opened and adjourned on Thursday.

A Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust spokesperson said: “We would like to apologise for what happened and offer our sincere condolences to Jennifer’s family, friends and loved ones.

“A serious incident investigation took place and has been acted upon, including system changes to prevent this happening again.”