Health

“I watched her take her last breath…” Family slam doctors after daughter, 29, dies of melanoma

Leah Debono’s mother, father and husband are still trying to get their heads around how two separate doctors missed Leah’s deadly melanoma.
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Just one month after Leah Debono had gotten married to the love of her life, Ben Debono, she started feeling unwell – something that doctors put down to post-wedding stress.

Excitedly, Leah and Ben had initially thought this sick feeling could be an indication that Leah was pregnant with her first child.

Soon after, things took a worrying turn when Leah was rushed to hospital after collapsing at work.

As it turns out, what caused Leah’s collapse was melanoma, and the fact that it had spread to her brain, liver, spleen, bones and lungs.

Rewind the clock to 2012 when then-25-year-old Leah found an unusual mole on her arm that two doctors told Leah was nothing to worry about.

In 2013, she decided to have the lump removed anyway – a lump that was later found to be a stage-four malignant melanoma. She soon had her lymph nodes removed and was told she was cancer-free.

As Leah’s parents and husband, Ben, told 60 Minutes, over the next three years, Leah had regular three- and six-month check-ups – she even had a check-up the week before her wedding. Doctors told her over and over that the cancer had not returned.

Leah died three months after her wedding in January this year from an aggressive melanoma. that had spread all through her body.

“At the time of the wedding she was riddled with cancer. She would have had a brain tumour at the time,” Ben told 60 Minutes.

Understandably, Leah’s family are devastated at the loss of their beloved daughter – but can’t help but think that she was failed by the New South Wales medical system in that her cancer could have been detected much earlier than when it fatefully was.

“It really makes you angry some days where things could be different if certain people did certain things,” Ben said.

Our thoughts are with all those who loved Leah during this difficult time.

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