Woman, 27, Died of Cancer After Waiting Months for Face-To-Face Appointment

The mother of a 27-year-old British woman has said her daughter died of liver cancer after being denied a face-to-face medical appointment for months.

Jessica Brady, from Stevenage in Hertfordshire, died in December 2020 after she had made multiple attempts to be seen in person by a general practitioner (GP), according to the Daily Mirror.

Her mother, Andrea Brady, told lawmakers at a health and social care committee meeting at the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday that her daughter had first complained of pain in her abdomen during the summer of 2020.

She was given a number of virtual appointments over a five-month period as the U.K. went into and out of coronavirus lockdowns, during which her cancerous tumor went undetected.

Andrea Brady told the committee that her daughter was diagnosed with a kidney infection "in the absence of any diagnostic testing or any physical examination at all," and was prescribed antibiotics.

When the young woman's condition worsened, she was given prescriptions for steroids, an inhaler and more antibiotics.

Jessica Brady was only seen by a GP in person after she had called her local surgery on more than 20 occasions, her mother said.

The Daily Mirror added that tests were carried out and that these highlighted some concerns about her liver function. But the cancer was not detected until it had spread around her body and become untreatable.

According to the newspaper, Andrea Brady said her daughter could have had a gastroscopy, which takes photos inside the stomach, if she had been seen earlier.

If this procedure had taken place and detected the cancer, it "wouldn't have spread so aggressively."

Andrea Brady continued: "Jess was a very gentle, sweet person, but she really did attribute her late diagnosis to the slow reaction of her GP surgery."

The 27-year-old finally received a correct diagnosis after she went to see a private medical practitioner and was told she had stage 4 cancer of the lungs, bones, spine and liver. She died three-and-a-half weeks after the diagnosis.

According to the Daily Mirror, Andrea Brady told the committee: "The most important thing is we feel, and Jess felt, that no one listened, no one took it seriously and, more than anything, she needed a permitted face-to-face appointment really early on, with people making notes.

"And also, during all that time, she wasn't seen by one designated doctor. Four different doctors spoke to Jess and prescribed her medication. And we think that was really key."

The Brady family is calling for a cancer specialist to be in every GP medical center and for increased awareness about cancers in young people.

A Change.org petition started by Andrea Brady to raise awareness had passed 160,000 signatures by Thursday morning, out of a target of 200,000.

U.K. Health Secretary Sajid Javid has urged GPs to resume face-to-face appointments with their patients, after the restrictions imposed at the height of pandemic.

Responding to a question from a member of parliament about concerns that some doctors were still not seeing patients in person, Javid said: "I think everyone can understand why during the height of the pandemic that GPs couldn't provide access in the normal way.

"But we're way past that now. Life is starting to return almost back to completely normal and, as that is happening, it should be happening in our GP surgeries too, and more GPs should be offering face-to-face access."

Newsweek has contacted Andrea Brady for comment.

Jessic died from liver cancer
Jessica Brady died of liver cancer last December at the age of 27. Andrea Brady/ Change.org