Mum dies of cancer after acid reflux misdiagnosis over phone unable to see GP

A mum died of cancer after doctors misdiagnosed it as acid reflux when she couldn’t be seen face-to-face because of Covid, her husband has claimed.

Trish Gower, 74, waited two months for an in-person diagnosis after she made repeated attempts to see someone for a cough.

Husband Raymond, 74, said by the time they realise she had aggressive and rapidly-spreading cancer in her lungs, ovaries and lymphatic system, it was too late.

The cancer was inoperable and she died.

The dad-of-two, from Worthing, West Sussex, believes a face-to-face appointment could have saved her life.

He said: “When my wife arrived at the hospital she was treated so well, but it took far too long to get her there so she could get the treatment she needed.

“When we begged for a face-to-face appointment, we were denied access to the surgery.

“She was healthy before she began to get short of breath – and I know she lost her life sooner than she was supposed to and it is heart-breaking.

Raymond and Trish met aged 15 before getting married six years later.

He continued: “I was been with my wife since we were 15 and I can’t remember a time without her – we travelled the world and raised a family together.

“Now I have to live without her knowing it could have been different and I don’t know what to do with myself.”

Trish developed a cough in February 2021.

She took several Covid-19 tests which came back negative, but her cough only worsened and Trish became short of breath.

Raymond said they tried to book a GP appointment, but was told Trish couldn’t see someone face to face due to Covid restrictions.

After her phone appointment, Raymond said his wife was diagnosed with gastric reflux and prescribed two three-week courses of heartburn medication.

Raymond said: “After the first round, I called up the doctor and begged for an in-person appointment.

“I remember saying ‘it’s not good enough, can’t you examine her?’ but it didn’t make a difference.”

Trish feared her condition was more serious when she became unable to walk down the hallway or complete a sentence without gasping for breath.

It wasn’t until she developed lumps in her throat that doctors saw her face-to-face, which was two months after first calling the doctor.

Trish went for an emergency scan and was tragically diagnosed with incurable lung cancer in her right lung.

It transpired cancer had originated in her ovaries, undetected, before spreading to her lungs and was also present in her lymphatic system.

Raymond said that after three rounds of chemotherapy, doctors confirmed it wasn’t working, and it was too late.

Trish died in July 2021.

Her husband claims her death could have been prevented had Trish been able to get a face-to-face appointment sooner.

He said: “We were never explicitly told they wouldn’t see her face to face because of a Covid regime but we could tell they were being careful – even when I begged.

“I was been with my wife since we were 15 and I can’t remember a time without her – I just don’t know what to do with myself.

“I don’t know how long I have left to live, but however long it is, I have to do it alone and that breaks my heart.

“Now I have to live without her knowing it could have been different.”