Teenage Girl Dies After Doctors Tell Her to “Stop Googling”

Teenage Girl Dies After Doctors Tell Her to “Stop Googling”

Bronte Doyne was a 19-year-old cancer patient who was told she was going to survive after having an operation to remove a growth on her liver. She did her own research and found many credible sources that warned the growth would return. But when she shared her concerns with her doctors, she was told “stop googling.

Bronte Doyne, 19, said she was ‘fed up of trusting’ medics who refused to accept she was dying and was told to ‘stop Googling’ the rare illness that would eventually kill her.

Miss Doyne died in March 2013, 16 months after she developed fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma (FBC), a rare form of liver cancer which only affects 200 people a year worldwide.

The teenager had an operation in September 2011 to remove the cancer and was told she would make a full recovery, but online research in America told her that FBC often returns.

But ‘aloof and evasive’ doctors at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH) treated her with ‘woeful lack of care and empathy’ and refused to accept this and told her to ‘stop Googling’.

In a text weeks before she died she said: ‘Need answers. Want to know what’s going on. Something’s not right. I’m sick of this’.

And days before she died she wrote: ‘Can’t begin to tell you how it feels to have to tell an oncologist they are wrong. I had to, I’m fed up of trusting them’.

Today Bronte’s mother Lorraine Doyne has made the messages public to reveal her daughter’s plight.

She said: ‘Bronte was denied pain relief, referrals were hugely delayed and efforts by her family to gather information and understand Bronte’s prognosis were handled in an evasive and aloof manner.

‘Her fears that her symptoms over the preceding months before she died were cancer-related were proved right.

‘The messages from Bronte are all her own words and I believe that’s more powerful for people to understand what she went through.

She added: ‘I want to see changes and action now.’

She and her daughter were forced to do their own research online, but doctors dismissed their fears.

Mrs Doyne said: ‘We had no information forthcoming and the only sources we found were through our own research.

‘We found a website for the Fibrolamellar Cancer Foundation, which is based in the United States, and it included an international forum.

‘It’s not just some pathetic website on Google, it’s been endorsed by the White House in publications, and was the only contact we had to get some awareness about this disease. But that information was dismissed here. I told the clinician that I knew what was happening to my daughter and something needed to be done but I was just told to “stop Googling”.

While it is true that using the internet to attempt to diagnose yourself can be dangerous when used incorrectly, this young woman handled it in the correct way by sharing the information and her concerns with her doctors. It is the responsibility of the doctors to listen to their patients and address their concerns, not tell them they’ll be fine and to stop googling.

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