A British teenager who died of cancer wrote doctors a series of desperate messages, begging them to take her concerns about her deteriorating health seriously, for months before her death, while medical staff ignored the pleas and asked her to trust their judgment.
Bronte Dyone, native of West Bridgford, Nottingham, was first admitted to the hospital in 2011 with suspected appendicitis. Eventually, she was diagnosed with fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma – a rare and aggressive form of liver cancer. She underwent a surgery to remove her cancer, after which the doctor assured her and her family that the disease will not make a comeback.
As it turns out, they were wrong.
After some online research, the teenager found out that FBC often returns, which raised the family’s concerns regarding Dyone’s health. However, when they tried talking to the doctors about it, they were dismissed and were told to stop using Google. Physicians even chalked up her dramatic weight loss to “being from a skinny family.”
“We found a website for the Fibrolamellar Cancer Foundation, which is based in the United States, and it included an international forum,” explained teen’s mother Lorraine Dyone. “But that information was dismissed by the doctors. I told the clinician that I knew what was happening to my daughter and something needed to be done but I was just told to ‘stop Googling.’”
Doyne begged doctors for 16 months to take her seriously, though by the time she was taken in, her cancer had become so aggressive that she died within the next 10 days at the age of 19.
my body does not feel very good #helpme— Bronte Doyne (@BronteDoyne) July 29, 2012
Somethings in life are just not fair #justgottogetonwithit— Bronte Doyne (@BronteDoyne) February 19, 2013
Today is the day when my life will get turned upside down #icandoit— Bronte Doyne (@BronteDoyne) March 8, 2013
Although Dyone passed away in 2013, her heartbroken family recently released her tragic diary entries and tweets that show how the 19-year-old feared the disease and how her concerns were ignored by medical staff.
“I got so angry because the doctor was so rude and just shrugged his shoulders. He gave me a sarcastic comment like you can sleep here if you want but they won’t do anything. So I just have to wait for another hospital appointment,” she wrote in one of her entries.
Lorraine Dyone told Telegraph that all their efforts to understand her daughter’s prognosis were handled in an evasive and aloof manner.
“Her fears that her symptoms over the preceding months before she died were cancer-related were proved right. The messages from Bronte are all her own words and I believe that's more powerful for people to understand what she went through. I want to see changes and action now,” she explained.
Meanwhile, the Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust has apologized and admitted that they did not “listen with sufficient attention.”
“This has put the spotlight on how the internet age and the availability of information can challenge the way we respond to patients who may be very well informed, but can remain frightened and vulnerable,” said Deputy Medical Director Keith Girling.
Although the victim’s family still wonders if the timely use of this information could have saved the 19-year-old, Dyone’s mother is now working with the hospital board to improve patient communication so something like this does not happen again.