The family of Porsche McGregor-Sims, 27, from Portsmouth, who died from a fatal heart attack after cancer spread to her lungs, causing breathing problems, claim she “wasn’t listened to” by doctors
Image: Family/Solent News)
An aspiring model who died from her aggressive cervical cancer feels she wasn’t listened to by doctors, her family has said.
Porsche McGregor-Sims, 27, from Portsmouth, died in hospital on April 14, 2020, after her cancer spread towards her lungs, causing breathing problems and a fatal heart attack.
During an inquest was held into the events manager’s death at Portsmouth Coroner’s Court, her family said they were frequently told Ms McGregor-Sims problems were just irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
The aspiring model was referred by her GP to the city’s Queen Alexandra Hospital after suffering abdominal pain and bleeding in December 2019.
Alistair Toogood/Solent News)
She was eventually seen on January 24 the following year by gynecologist Dr Peter Schlesinger who dismissed the likelihood of her having cancer, the court heard.
Dr Schlesinger told Ms McGregor-Sims a physical examination wasn’t required because he believed her pain was likely due to contraception and endometriosis or IBS.
Coroner Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp told the court an early diagnosis would not have changed the outcome for Ms McGregor-Sims.
But she and her family would have been saved the “shock and trauma” of finding out about the cancer just before she died.
Giving a narrative verdict, she said: “It’s not clear that a referral in January would have altered the tragic outcome, but an earlier diagnosis would have allowed more time for her and her family to prepare themselves.”
Ms Rhodes-Kemp explained a mass of 5.3cm was only detected on April 6 following a CT scan, and a PET scan three days later on April 9 found that the cancer was “widespread and inoperable”.
Chemotherapy was not an option for Ms McGregor-Smith.
Ms Rhodes-Kemp explained: “The appointment planned for a detailed discussion of these issues with the family was due on April 13.
“This meant that the family and Porsche were unaware of the details of the cancer diagnosis and the severity.”
The court heard from Ms McGregor-Sims family, who claimed she had requested a second opinion in January, describing it as “very out of character for her to complain”, she did so as she thought she was “not listened to”.
In a statement read to the court, they said: “None of us, including Porsche, thought that she would not make it out of hospital on April 13.
“We didn’t even have a chance to adjust to the knowledge that it was stage four cancer and therefore we were not going to have much time.
“Every step of the way she was being told it was IBS, and from what we can see, nobody was entertaining the idea that it could have been cancer.
“You can’t have come to terms that she was going to go to hospital and come out in a body bag because we didn’t even know it was cancer.
“There’s no way we could have prepared for it.”
Claire Burton, a consultant gynaecologist at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, said that Ms McGregor-Sims should have been referred for further tests to check for cervical cancer at her first hospital appointment in January 2020.
Ms Burton, who was not involved in Ms McGregor-Sims’ care but helped write an investigation into it afterwards, apologized on behalf of the trust to her family.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.