Mum-of-two dies aged 44 after cancer treatment was ‘delayed due to lockdown’
A devoted nurse died of colon cancer after claims her treatment was delayed by coronavirus.
Mum-of-two Anna Fernandez, from Birmingham, died peacefully at her home last month on the day after her youngest son’s seventh birthday.
A close friend claimed Anna’s treatment was hit by delays – with biopsies not sent for examination and scans held up during the pandemic.
She was first diagnosed with cancer at the age of 38 and had been in remission for five years, before it returned earlier this year, Birmingham Live reports.
Anna, originally from the Philippines, worked on the Stroke Unit and Acute Medical Unit at Heartlands Hospital from 2002 before moving to Solihull where she was again based in AMU.
The 44-year-old was said to be a ‘hard-working’ nurse and a devoted mum.
Described as a ‘ray of sunshine’, she leaves behind her husband Paul and young sons Gabriel and Andre.
The friend, speaking with the consent of Anna’s family, claimed delays to some of Anna’s cancer treatment, during the Covid crisis, had ‘detrimental consequences’ on her health.
Anna was being treated at both the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Heartlands – the hospital where she had dedicated years to caring for patients.
Biopsies, which should have been examined in the USA were never sent – her friend claimed – and scans were held up.
Anna was eventually told her cancer was terminal and she died on September 19.
In a heartfelt tribute, close friend Jennie Navarrette wrote: “Anna was diagnosed with colon cancer at the early age of 38.
“Armed with a strong faith in God and surrounded by supportive family and friends, she braved the battle and had been in remission for five years.
“Sadly, it recurred early this year. Since the world has been plagued with Covid-19, delays in some of her treatment had detrimental consequences.
“She died on September 19, the day after her youngest son Andre’s birthday. She died peacefully at home in the presence of her family and very close friends.”
The friends, who were both overseas nurses, met while working at Heartlands Hospital.
Jennie added: “Being hard-working and thorough, topped with her speed, made her the kind of colleague anyone would look forward to work with every shift. There was never a dull moment working with her.
“Her presence made the workload light, she gladly did her job, no moaning or groaning even when the going got tough. Despite the chaos, she remained composed and got on with the job, with her beautiful smile. She was a ray of sunshine – a friendly, witty, kind and caring soul.
“She leaves behind her husband Paul, and two young children, Gabriel, aged 13 and Andre, aged seven. She was a very caring wife, a doting mum. Her house was always meticulously clean, her boys always looked smart. She was devoted to her family.
“Anna was a very generous person, very accommodating and welcoming. Their home became the favourite hang out of the group because of their openness and hospitality. Her generosity extended far back to the Phillippines.
“She has left a gaping hole in many hearts and will be very greatly missed. Heaven has gained a beautiful angel.”
A spokesman for the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the QE and Heartlands Hospital, said they could not comment specifically on the allegations about the delays in her treatment.
“The Trust extends its heartfelt and deep condolences to Anna’s husband Paul and their young family at their tragic loss.
“Anna was a much-loved and respected nurse and colleague, she will be dearly missed by all who worked with her.
“Where anyone has concerns about their care, or the care of a loved one, we encourage them to be in touch with our patient relations team.”
Friends are now trying to raise £5,000 to help with funeral expenses.
A service will be held for Anna at Corpus Christi Church in Stechford later this month.
You can donate here.
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