Cancer mum's desperate plea to health authorities

A WALLABADAH woman facing an excruciating delay for life-saving surgery has called on the state government to act immediately to reduce waiting lists.

Jane Simpson was devastated to learn during a routine check-up in July that the cancer which nearly claimed her life in 2011 had returned.

But despite its early detection, the 50-year-old has been told she may have to wait until at least December to undergo surgery to remove the tumours.

Ms Simpson is yet another patient to be caught up in the much-publicised peritonectomy crisis at Sydney’s St George Hospital.

It comes as the plight of Sydney mum Nicole Perko, who is also waiting for 

the complex surgery, drew international attention via an online campaign supported by model Jennifer Hawkins, actor Russell Crowe and others.

Ms Simpson, who has a 20-year-old daughter, said she found it hard to comprehend that people in need of life-saving operations were forced to wait so long.

“It’s a joke,” she said. “I thought health was supposed to be important in this country because if you don’t have your health, what do you have?

“You go on a waiting list and your life goes on hold again. You can’t do anything or plan anything – you sort of have to just live one day at a time.”

Ms Simpson was first diagnosed with cancer in 2011 and underwent a 10-hour operation to remove her ovaries, spleen and appendix, as well as some of her diaphragm and bowel.

The operation, together with an intensive six-month course of chemotherapy, saw her slowly return to health and move back into the workforce.

But just when Ms Simpson started to entertain thoughts that her troubles were behind her, she received more bad news.

“Before my check-up in July I was feeling really good,” she said. “It was the best I had felt since the first operation and I thought I was still improving.

“So I had my three-monthly check-up in July and then in August I had a pap smear that confirmed early stages of cancer in the cervix.

“I need to have a hysterectomy, which they will do at the same time as they do the peritonectomy.”

Professor David Morris, who carried out Ms Simpson’s surgery in 2011, revealed last month that tumours in four of his patients had progressed to the inoperable stage while they awaited surgery at St George Hospital.

He blamed chronic underfunding for forcing the hospital to slash its beds and cancel scheduled surgeries.

South Eastern Sydney Local Health District chief executive Terry Clout would not comment on Ms Simpson’s case due to patient confidentiality restrictions.

However, he said 25 people were on the waiting list for peritonectomy surgery.

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