Porsche McGregor-Sims died of cervical cancer one day after diagnosis as doctors dismissed her symptoms

An aspiring young model died of cervical cancer aged just 27 after an agency locum doctor said the symptoms were down to her hormones, an inquest has heard.

Porsche McGregor-Sims actually had an aggressive form of the disease which had gone undiagnosed for months despite her complaining to medics of continual pain and bleeding.

Porsche McGregor-Sims

Her tragic trajectory marks a disturbing trend that many women experience in the health care system: Often, their symptoms are written off by doctors as psychological or hormonal.

McGregor-Sims’ gynecologist, Peter Schlesinger, didn’t initially see that she had an aggressive form of cervical cancer, after the clinician deemed that further examination would yield “no benefit” at her age. She had recently stopped taking regular birth control injections, which they presumed was a “hormonal” shock to her system.

For months, the graduate – who was engaged to be married to her university sweetheart – had complained to doctors about continuous abdominal pain and vaginal bleeding, but she was not taken seriously.

At Portsmouth Coroner’s Court, her family raised serious questions over her death and accused NHS staff of failing to do ‘the most basic, fundamental thing’, which is to give a ‘physical examination’.

Porsche's fiance Mark Chappel kisses her in this poignant picture of the engaged couple

During the inquest, her heartbroken mum Fiona Hawke interrogated Dr Peter Schlesinger, a gynaecologist locum consultant at Queen Alexandra Hospital, who was involved in Porsche’s case.

She said: ‘She was a young woman who was told she might have cancer. She was on her own and scared.

‘You focused on her IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and a different type of bleeding… and that just doesn’t make sense to me.

The doctor also said he was “very sorry” to hear of her ultimate diagnosis, and has apologized to her family.

He added in his testimony: “The rather specific nature of her bleeding made me think her risk of cervical cancer was small. I appreciate the fact I was wrong, but given the myriad of symptoms this young woman had, I felt the right approach was hormonal manipulation.”

Speaking on behalf of Westlands Medical Centre, Dr. Helen Pandya told investigators, “The COVID pandemic really didn’t help during the latter stages but, upon review, we had thought we had done all we could — though we are willing to learn.”

Hawke paid tribute to her daughter, an aspiring model, actress and event planner.

“The number of people she reached in her short life is the best reflection of who she was,” she said of McGregor-Sims, who is also survived by fiancé Mark Chappel and twin brother Deucalion.

“She was willing to see the good in everything and everyone. She was a lovely person, and losing her is like having the sun burn out.”

The grieving mom added, “It’s frightening to think that someone with so much energy can disappear so suddenly.”


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