Leeds husband's Covid rules plea after wife's cancer operation cancelled

A husband is urging people across Leeds to follow Covid rules after his wife's cancer operation was cancelled due to the pandemic.
Dawn Dillon pictured with husband Mark and daughter Evangeline.

Photo: Simon HulmeDawn Dillon pictured with husband Mark and daughter Evangeline.

Photo: Simon Hulme
Dawn Dillon pictured with husband Mark and daughter Evangeline. Photo: Simon Hulme

Mum of one Dawn Dillon, 57, of Rothwell, is suffering from advanced ovarian cancer, which has spread to other areas of her body.

Mrs Dillon was set to undergo major surgery at St James's Hospital this Thursday. (February 11)

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Her husband Mark, 55, said his wife was told on Friday (Feb 5) that the operation was being cancelled because there would not be enough staff to provide post operative healthcare as they are needed on Covid wards.

Dawn Dillon pictured with husband MarkDawn Dillon pictured with husband Mark
Dawn Dillon pictured with husband Mark

The couple - who have a 16 year old daughter called Evangeline - are now preparing for Mrs Dillon to undergo further chemotherapy treatment starting this Friday.

Mr Dillon said he understands the pressures the NHS is facing, but he is concerned that some people are no longer following the lockdown rules.

Mr Dillon said: "I have no complaints whatsoever against the NHS. They have been absolutely wonderful.

"My issue is with people flouting the rules.

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"I am very annoyed when I see people three or four abreast walking down the street, who are carrying on as if there is nothing to be fearful of.

"For some people It is as though Covid doesn' exist. I don't know what it is, but I have found these last two months people have been more reluctant to keep safe."

"My greatest wish is for everybody to obey the Covid rules.

"If you do obey the rules it means people like my wife can have their cancer operations."

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Mrs Dillon was diagnosed with stage 4b ovarian cancer in October 2020 and told that it had spread to her abdomen and lymph nodes in her groin, liver and heart.

Mr Dillon said that, at that stage, his wife was told that an operation would be too risky as the cancers were too large.

Mrs Dillon started three months of chemotherapy in November and was told at the end of that treatment that her cancers had reduced in size by up to 50 per cent.

Doctors told Mrs Dillon on January 20 that surgery to remove as many of the cancers as possible was then an option.

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A date was set for the surgery at St James's Hospital on February 11.

Mr Dillon said: "I was told the operation would improve Dawn's prognosis and that she would live longer if she had the operation."

Mrs Dillon is due to start three weeks of chemotherapy treatment this Friday (February 12).

She will have to wait a further week at the end of that treatment before she could undergo surgery, at the earliest.

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Mr Dillion said: "We are hoping the situation in Leeds will have changed by then and she will be given another date for an operation."

Mr Dillon said his wife had suffered problems with a bloated stomach for a number of months before her cancer diagnosis.

Persistently feeling bloated and full is one of the most common early signs of ovarian cancer.

Mr Dillon said: "We didn't know that at the time and I would urge women with symptoms to see their doctor."

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Dr Phil Wood, chief medical officer at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "Along with the rest of the NHS we are seeing an increase in patients admitted to our hospitals with Covid-19, particularly those requiring critical care.

“Every patient’s care is important to us and to make sure we can continue to provide safe care in our hospitals, we have taken the difficult decision to postpone some planned elective operations with only emergency and extremely urgent operations going ahead.

"This is not a decision we have taken lightly, and we apologise to those patients who this affects.

“We know that this is an extremely worrying time for our patients who are waiting to come into hospital and I would like to reassure them that we are reviewing the situation daily.

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"Our clinical teams make hundreds of clinical decisions on a daily basis, case-by-case, in order to balance the demand for emergency care, including patients with COVID-19, with our need to treat patients waiting for scheduled operations.

“We would urge everyone to follow the government’s guidance to reduce the spread of Covid-19 so that we can continue to provide care for those who really need it.”