Boy with cancer sent home from hospital 11 times

ninemsn staff
5:15pm March 12, 2013
Five-year-old Charlie Woolley.
Five-year-old Charlie Woolley.

English doctors may have shortened the life of a five-year-old by sending him home from hospital 11 times and prescribing him with laxatives for constipation when he actually had an aggressive type of cancer.

In May last year, five months after Charlie Woolley first complained of a stomach ache, his mother Sharon refused to leave Blackpool Victoria Hospital until he'd had a scan.

Doctors then found a tumour the size of a basketball in her son's stomach.

Ms Woolley says Charlie, who also has Aspergers Syndrome, had looked "nine months pregnant" at the time.

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"All this time when I'd been fighting for someone to take me seriously, cancer was ravaging my son," she told The Sun.

Charlie Woolley in hospital.
Charlie Woolley in hospital.

"He was in so much pain yet no one would listen to me."

Charlie has been diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma, a rare form of cancer that usually occurs in children and has a survival rate of less than 40 percent.

On her blog, Ms Woolley said the doctors told her chronic constipation was common in children with Aspergers Syndrome and he was never offered an x-ray or blood tests because he was too "difficult to examine".

"He was weeks away from death," she posted.

"His body was shutting down.

"Had tests and scans been carried out earlier at my request he may very well have been a far more curable stage three (neuroblastoma) but instead we have the devastatingly cruel news that he has stage four."

She says Charlie now has no active cancer cells in his body but still has a dead tumour the size of a ping pong ball.

Today Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust declined to comment on Charlie's case to The Sun.

Source: The Sun, Travels With Charlie

Author: Alexandra Pleffer, Approving editor: Nick Pearson

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