‘Miracle’ mother with terminal cancer blames NHS delay in approving treatment for incurable disease
A young ‘miracle’ mother claims a two-month NHS delay in approving specialist cancer treatment has left her facing death and unable to beat the disease.
Kerry Dunn, with her daughter Ruby at their home in Somerset, claims she is now facing death after a two-month NHS delay in approving a specialist cancer treatment
Kerry Dunn, 46, asked her local Primary Care Trust to fund 18,000 Cyberknife radiotherapy treatment in October to help battle cancer in her mesentery tissue.
But the mother-of-one, who gave birth to one of the smallest babies in Britain ever to survive, only got approval from the trust last month.
She claims the decision came too late and the tumour, between her stomach and bowel tissue, has now grown too big to treat.
Devastated Kerry – whose daughter Ruby was hailed a ‘miracle’ after she was born at 26 weeks in 2006 weighing less than 1lb – claims she is now facing death.
She said: ‘After the trust finally said I could have the funding, I had another scan taken on December 28.
‘I heard the results and apparently the tumour is now too big to operate on.
‘I don’t know where this leaves me. I shall ask for a second opinion, but the only other treatment really available is radiotherapy, which is only palliative and will not cure me.
‘I can’t believe this has come down to money, it is just devastating.
Kerry Dunn, now 46, from Weston-super-Mare, with her baby Ruby days after she was born
‘I should have started this year with some treatment which would hopefully have cured me. Instead, because of the delay, I don’t know what 2012 will bring.
‘They (bureaucrats) have God-like rights to decide what people’s lives are worth. This treatment could have cured me. There is nothing else on offer that can do that.
‘I didn’t have a lot of time to waste. At first they would not fund this treatment. The decision was reversed in December.
‘It was too late. Now I have this uncertain future. This has caused so much stress for me and my young family.’
Doctors told Kerry, who has already beaten cancer three times, her latest tumour, between stomach and bowel tissue, could only be tackled using Cyberknife treatment.
The young mum lives with husband Craig, 43, in Sandford, near Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, and cares for their severely autistic daughter Ruby, aged five.
She was told she needed around 18,000 in funding for the rare radiotherapy treatment and applied to North Somerset Primary Care Trust (PCT) for the cash in October.
‘Miracle’ mother: Kerry and Craig Dunn’s child was born at 26 weeks in 2006 weighing less than 1lb
At the time of her diagnosis, when scans were taken, medics told her the treatment could have had a 100 per cent chance of success. But the PCT wrote back to her around one week later saying it could not fund the Cyberknife procedure.
Determined Kerry contacted her local MP, Lib Dem Tessa Munt, and her local newspaper in a bid to secure the funding.
Then the week before Christmas she received the news that the PCT had reversed its original decision and were to fund the treatment. But, after fresh scans, she doctors told her that it was too late to try and eradicate the tumour.
Without the Cyberknife treatment her chances of survival will go down to around 30 per cent within a year – before falling to less than 10 per cent.
Her angry husband Craig said: ‘The PCT should never have refused funding because our clinician had advised that was what Kerry needed.
‘Now we have a realistic possibility of losing her over the next year or two. Our daughter has severe autism and if something happens to Kerry I will have to give up work to look after her.
‘It is crazy that they wouldn’t fund the cost of the treatment, because the cost of not treating her will be so much more.’
North Somerset PCT said it made a decision ‘within 24 hours of receiving new clinical and social evidence’ about her circumstances.
A spokesman for the trust said: ‘We fully appreciate how difficult a time this is for the patient and her family.
‘Ordinarily any decision on the most appropriate course of treatment is a private one between a doctor and their patient.
‘NHS North Somerset made a funding decision within 24 hours of receiving new clinical and social evidence which it requested from all parties concerned.
‘To comment any further at this time would be inappropriate.’
A fundraising concert for the Teenage Cancer Trust South West, initially set up to pay for Mrs Dunn’s treatment, is being held at Weston’s Grand Pier on January 27 at 6.30pm.
Kerry is now hoping to collect enough money to take her daughter to Disney World in Florida.’
Wells MP Tessa Munt said: ‘It is absolutely crucial that people who have forms of terminal cancer get quick decisions.
‘People shouldn’t have to find an MP to get that extra information that changes the decision.
‘The state is now going to end up paying a huge amount more because Ruby’s father is going to give up work full-time and will need support from the taxpayer.’