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'I knew something was wrong but doctors missed it TWICE - now I have weeks to live'

A mum who said doctors missed her cancer twice now has just weeks to live.

Sarah Middleton was diagnosed with an advanced form of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma in May last year.

But the 48-year-old from Derbyshire said she had twice visited her local A&E at Royal Derby Hospital just two months prior about her symptoms.

After suffering sudden and sharp chest pains, Sarah went to hospital but was told in both instances that nothing was wrong.

Husband Marius Grigoriu said she was “badly let down” but the hospital trust have invited the couple to contact them so they could investigate her case and try to provide answers.

Marius said: "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."

In late March, last year, after suffering chest pains, Sarah feared she “might be having a heart attack” and rang 111 who advised she go to A&E.

At hospital she had blood samples taken and other tests which revealed her pain could be down to one of two things: malignancy (a cancerous tumour) or a pulmonary embolism (a blocked blood vessel in her lungs), the couple told DerbyshireLive.

She was sent home with blood thinners and told to return two days later for a scan.

In the meantime, the chest pains eased and when she had the scan it was clear, which ruled out the pulmonary embolism, but the couple allege that the chance of malignancy wasn’t investigated.

Sarah said she begged a nurse at the same appointment to check if she was okay, and investigate her stomach which had swelled mysteriously.

They did, but told her it was probably inflammation following a Covid infection, so Sarah went home.

Marius said over the next two months her stomach continued to bloat until she appeared “pregnant”.

Sarah went to her GP who told her to self-refer for a CT scan which took place the next week and led to her being diagnosed with cancer of the lymph nodes in her stomach.

The couple claimed that Sarah only got the results after going back to A&E again when her stomach pain became too much to bear.

She was rushed into chemotherapy after her husband's intervention, having initially been told there'd be a two-week wait due to a lack of beds.

Treatment was then still delayed due to reduced staff numbers over the Queen's Jubilee weekend, Marius said.

When Sarah went in, she spent four months undergoing treatment, only for the couple to be told it hadn’t worked.

Marius researched alternative treatment options, and set up a fundraiser to pay for his wife to be flown to America for a clinical trial at Washington University.

However, they didn't raise their £200,000 target.

Instead, after salvage chemotherapy, Sarah underwent CAR-T-cell therapy, where the body’s T-cells are reprogrammed to hopefully attack the cancer plaguing the body.

Sarah was admitted on December 23, and treatment began just under a week later, meaning she missed what might be her last Christmas and New Year with her family.

The tumours only partially responded the treatment and a follow-up scan showed they had started growing again and spread to her chest.

Left in severe pain and unable to eat, Sarah tried one final method, an unapproved drug called Glofitamab but despite an initially promising reaction, just last week the family were told it hadn’t worked.

With all treatment options exhausted, Sarah, who once ran 10km four times a week, has been given just weeks to live.

Marius is now fundraising again to try and pay for one last round of chemo to keep Sarah alive to her daughter’s birthday in July.

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 or something. They're not going to have that now. It's been a terrifying experience for all of us to be honest with you."

Dr Sreeman Andole, Interim Executive Medical Director at University Hospitals of Derby and Burton, on behalf of Royal Derby Hospital, said: "We understand that this must be an extremely distressing situation for Sarah and her family and 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."

Click here to visit the GoFundMe.