23-Year-Old Mother Dies of Cervical Cancer After Doctors Refused To Give Pap Smear

Keely Devine died of cervical cancer at the age of 23 in September of 2013. According to the Daily Mail, Devine reportedly began seeking medical attention just three weeks after giving birth to her son, Jayden, back in September of 2010.

She expressed concerns about hip and abdominal pain along and heavy bleeding after giving birth. Doctors reportedly missed signs of the disease nine times. In a two and a half years, Devine visited her general physician six times and a hospital three times only to be told she was suffering from an infection. But, to no avail.

Although she continued to complain about pain, she never had any form of physical examination done. Doctors also refused to give her a pap smear, because she was too young. NHS pap smears are commonly administered to women ages 25 to 64. Cervical cancer is rare in women under 25, so doctors immediately dismissed a pap smear as a form of examination.

Shortly after Devine was diagnosed on January 4, 2013, she began six-week course of radiotherapy and chemotherapy, but unfortunately it was already too late. She ended up with a large tumor that obstructed her cervix, causing the cancer to spread to her pelvis. Devine spent the last four months of her life in the Teenage Cancer Ward at St. James’s Hospital in Leeds, West Yorkshire.

Now, Devine’s mother, Alexandra Dickinson, wants answers. She recently gave a detailed account of her daughter’s condition, leading up to her untimely death. “As a family we are still coming to terms with losing Keely and in such tragic circumstances,” she said.

“It was heartbreaking to see her struggling with her illness as it took hold in the last few months of her life. She was incredibly frightened and in a great amount of pain,” Dickinson said. “She began to struggle to communicate with us and was finding it increasingly difficult to cope with her deterioration. She became wheelchair bound and extremely weak. She wanted to spend time with Jayden, but she didn’t want him to see and remember her in so much pain and distress.”

Dickinson has hired a team of attorneys to further investigate her daughter’s death. She currently suing the National Health Service on grounds of neglect, reports Yahoo! News. She personally feels better precautions could have been done to prevent her daughter’s death. Dickinson’s attorney, Rachelle Mahapatra, also agrees that the doctors’ decision contributed to her death. When they opted to disregard Devine’s symptoms and rely solely upon statistical age requirements, they ultimately delayed diagnosing her condition, which could have possibly been treated.

“Delays in promptly diagnosing and treating cervical cancer can have devastating consequences and it is vital that doctors focus on the symptoms rather than the age of a woman when deciding whether or not it might be cancer,” Mahapatra explained.

Do you feel think the NHS show lower the recommended age for pap smears?

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