An Australian woman died within a year of suffering from melanoma that spread across her body. After her death, her parents launched legal action against two practitioners who had failed to diagnose her condition.
Time and again, we’re told to trust doctors with our health and consult them if we don’t feel well. But have you ever imagined the consequences of a doctor’s negligence? The story we’re about to share follows a similar theme.
At 20, Ashleigh Simrajh from Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, noticed a bump on her leg and decided to see a specialist. However, the doctor dismissed it as nothing more than a wart after.
[Right] Ashleigh and Jason on their wedding day. [Right] Ashleigh starting to feel unwell. | Photo: facebook.com/tony.simrajh.3 | facebook.com/tracey.simrajh
Next, she saw a surgeon, but neither he nor the doctor bothered running any tests or taking the lump’s biopsy. The bump became extremely painful, so Ashleigh went to a skin specialist.
He told her the bump was growing, but he said it was a “cosmetic issue,” and the removal would cost her $2,500. It was not until she knocked the bump and started bleeding that she saw another specialist who immediately did a biopsy.
Much to her dismay, Ashleigh received her cancer diagnosis after two days. She also discovered that it was rapidly spreading across her body. Further tests revealed that cancer had affected her lungs, lymph nodes, and liver and was inoperable.
Ashleigh, who worked at McDonald’s back then, was devastated after being diagnosed with stage four nodular melanoma in May 2019. A GoFundMe account was set up to raise funds for her treatment. Her father, Tony Simrajh, added:
“Ashley went away from those appointments thinking she just had something cosmetic on her and it wasn’t something that she had to worry about.”
During her battle against cancer, Ashleigh made a conscious effort to raise awareness, encouraging people for regular skin checkups to question a doctor’s diagnosis whenever needed.
Her family was grief-stricken as they believed their daughter had done everything she could. Tony expressed his reservations and said the medical system had failed them. He told Daily Mail:
“Let down is not how I would describe it. I would describe it as we have been betrayed as she trusted the medical professionals.”
Tony said that everything would be different if Ashleigh was diagnosed timely. Over time, Ashleigh’s health worsened as she became skin and bones and weighed hardly 34 kgs. She was placed under palliative care and struggled to breathe properly.
In late August last year, Ashleigh discovered she had merely days to live. But instead of spending her last days wallowing in self-misery, she decided to put a ring on her relationship with fiancé Jason Hale.
The Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk also called her before her wedding.
On September 5, 2020, the two lovebirds said “I do” in front of their family and friends in a small wedding ceremony at Sea World Resort on the Gold Coast. Ashleigh was surrounded by her mom, dad, and sister the entire time.
A LOVE TO LAST A LIFETIME
The gorgeous bride was wheeled down the aisle by her father. The entire Gold Coast Community rallied behind Ashleigh and helped raise funds for her wedding.
Sadly, after 11 days of eternalizing her love, 23-year-old Ashleigh passed away on September 15, 2020. Her husband shared a heartfelt tribute for his beautiful wife in heaven following her death.
The heartbroken widower shared that he was heartbroken and the luckiest man in the world for knowing and sharing his life with Ashleigh. He expressed how he yearned to grow old with her and hoped to reunite with her someday.
The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison sent her a thank you letter, appreciating her efforts in raising awareness about skin cancer. The Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk also called her before her wedding.
Her family continues to voice their concern against the GP and specialist’s negligence and how it cost them their daughter’s life. They took legal action against two practitioners who failed to diagnose her condition.
Ashleigh’s parents continue to carry her message forward, and we hope they can find peace and strength, knowing she’s in a better place.