The parents of a young girl from Swansea are planning to sue the Welsh NHS because they believe her brain cancer treatment was “unjustifiably delayed”.
Nell Connick was just seven when she died in December from a rare form of cancer. Her parents believe she would still be alive if she she had been treated promptly with radiotherapy when she was diagnosed in 2016.
Nell’s mother Emma says doctors at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff “unjustifiably” waited six weeks to treat Nell after initial surgery.
“We were so scared. We just didn’t understand what was happening they weren’t doing anything,” said Emma.
Emma says she found a doctor at Great Ormond Street in London for a second opinion. When he looked at Nell’s scan, he rushed them to London and started treatment in three days.
“They also told us that we were chasing a train which had already left the station. And that she had about six months to live”
Nell defied all the doctors’ predictions and spent the next two years enjoying holidays wither her mum, dad and brother – she even fulfilled an ambition to take part in her school’s sports day.
Now Emma wants to sue the Welsh NHS after Cardiff and Vale University Health Board commissioned a report which found multiple delays in Nell’s treatment.
“I strongly believe if she’d been treated the way she’d been treated in London, she would still be her.”
Cardiff and Vale University Health Board have issued a statement, in which they claim the family’s desire to explore various treatment options abroad caused some delays.
“In July 2016, Nell very sadly presented with an exceptionally rare tumour. Due to the rarity of the condition and in line with good practice, extensive advice was sought from Liverpool, Leeds and Great Ormond Street hospitals regarding her diagnosis and therefore the definitive treatment plan. The consensus was that that surgery was not a viable option and it was agreed that radiotherapy should be used to try to control the tumour growth and preserve as much quality of life for Nell as possible. The plan was to refer Nell locally for radiotherapy.
“At that time, Nell’s parents wanted to explore taking her to Prague for proton beam therapy to be provided. Upon review of her case, the clinical team in Prague felt this treatment would not be appropriate. It is unfortunate that seeking these external views and exploring treatment choices caused some delays to the commencement of treatment.
“We apologise for any distress Nell’s parents feel with regard to her treatment and we would like to reiterate our offer to meet with Mr and Mrs Connick, to listen to any further concerns that they have and to discuss the independent expert’s report.”