REAL LIFE

Doctor didn’t tell woman she was dying because she was on holiday

She was told it was ‘99.9 per cent not cancer’.

A doctor held off from telling Jenny Scott she had terminal cancer because he wanted her to finish her holiday.

The Sydney woman left on a cruise in September 2016 after she was told by her doctor, Professor David Barnes, her cough was ‘99.9 per cent not cancer’, according to friends.

While Scott was on the cruise, her test results came back showing she was terminally ill from cancer, however, her doctor refrained from passing on the information as it would have had ‘no significant decision to the final outcome’.

Scott was diagnosed with influenza while on the cruise and it became the responsibility of doctors in Fremantle, Western Australia to tell her she had lung cancer.

She couldn’t get transferred to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney because there were not enough beds in ICU and Professor Barnes was on annual leave.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, her daughter, Tania, and her mother’s partner spent a week in ‘bureaucratic no man’s land’ as they struggled to locate a bed for Scott.

‘She was just so distressed about it, saying ‘Sydney doesn’t want me, Sydney doesn’t want me’,’ Tania told Fairfax Media. ‘I think she just felt abandoned.’

After getting in contact with the Lung Cancer Foundation they managed to locate a bed for her at the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse.

She arrived in Sydney on October 20 and died just hours later.  

Professor Barnes told the HCCC it was a “compassionate decision” not to tell her she had cancer.

‘My decision to refrain from contacting Mrs Scott whilst on holidays was a compassionate decision, to allow her to complete the cruise in circumstances where intervention would have made no significant difference to her ultimate outcome,’ he said in a statement to Fairfax Media. 

Her daughter said had his mother known she had cancer, she would have come home immediately.

‘In tandem with being refused a … hospital ICU bed, the impact of this decision on the last nine days of Mum’s life was devastating and heartbreaking, and all on top of the suffering she had to endure from an evil disease. She was a vibrant, cheeky, chatty and kind woman, and didn’t deserve this,’ she said.

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