Intended for healthcare professionals


Asylum seeker whose breast cancer treatment was delayed over eligibility has died

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: (Published 23 September 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5692
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. The BMJ

An Ethiopian asylum seeker with advanced breast cancer who was denied treatment for several weeks amid confusion about whether she should be charged by the NHS has died at the age of 39.

Kelemua Mulat, whose breast cancer had spread to her abdomen and spine, was refused treatment after Home Office and NHS officials decided that she was ineligible for free care.

She fell foul of a combination of Home Office rules on asylum and NHS regulations introduced in 2017 requiring NHS trusts to check patients’ eligibility for free treatment and to charge …

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