Teen ‘fobbed off’ by GP 10 times for pulled muscle discovers it is bone cancer
A teenager who suffered severe pain for months was ‘fobbed off’ by her GP 10 TIMES and told she had a pulled muscle only to eventually discover she had bone cancer.
Melissa Sutton, 16, attended 10 separate medical appointments complaining of extreme pain near her rib cage and shortness of breath
But each time doctors at Whitworth Medical Centre in Rochdale, Lancs, told the teen she was suffering with a sports injury and prescribed her with painkillers.
Eventually Melissa’s pain became so intense that her mother Alison Brookes rushed her into A&E, and Melissa was later diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma a rare form of bone cancer.
Melissa, from Rochdale, Lancs, had to have an operation to remove four ribs, and is currently undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.
Melissa’s mother Alison, who had to give up her job as a carer to look after her daughter full time, said: “Melissa had pain in her left side for more than three months but every time I took her to see our GP she was told it could be a pulled muscle from a sports injury, and we were sent away with Co-codamol.
“Our first appointment was in August 2014, and at the time Melissa was very sporty. She did a lot of trampolining so we had faith in the doctor’s opinion at first, but soon the pain got so bad that she couldn’t sleep at night. The painkillers did nothing to help Melissa. It gradually just got worse.
“I took Melissa back to visit the doctor time and time again but they always said the same thing. We saw four different GPs at the same practice in at least ten separate medical appointments and they all fobbed us off.
“Melissa would sit on the sofa crying in pain. She has never been one to moan or complain and it was awful to see her suffering. She felt as though no-one believed her.”
In November last year, three months after Melissa was first examined by a doctor, the teen was rushed to Royal Oldham Hospital by her concerned mother.
Melissa given underwent an X-ray, and doctors detected a partially collapsed lung. The teen then had scans of her abdomen and chest and was later told she had Ewing’s Sarcoma a form of bone cancer most common in teenagers and children.
Mother-of-three Alison, 41, said: “We felt like our world had been turned upside down when we were given the diagnosis.
“For months we knew something was wrong but we weren’t listened to. We were just fobbed off on more than ten occasions.
“We felt angry. Melissa felt as though she had been let down by her GP.”
Melissa was transferred to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, where she underwent an operation to remove four ribs and began having chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Alison said: “Melissa has now had twelve rounds of chemotherapy and she has three more to go. She will also have thirty sessions of radiotherapy altogether. Melissa has been incredibly strong in the face of it all.
“Melissa was in her final year of school when she was diagnosed. She should be collecting her GCSE results this month but she has had to leave school a year early. We are hoping she will go back next year.
“The first question Melissa asked when she was diagnosed was ‘will I lose my hair?’ But now she is proud to be bald because she knows she is bald for a reason. Her positivity gets us both through
“I am just glad I rushed Melissa to hospital that day. If I hadn’t I could be telling a very different story.”
Melissa said: “For months I suffered with quite a lot of symptoms. I had shortness of breath, severe pain in my left lower rib cage, and I struggled to lie down and sleep at night.
“When I was diagnosed with cancer it was a huge shock. It was news that no teenage girl wants to hear. The treatment has made me very poorly but I am just glad the cancer was detected when it was.
“I want to raise awareness so that other people who experience the same symptoms don’t give up and trust their instincts.”
Raj Patel, Medical Director for NHS England in Greater Manchester and Lancashire said: “We would like our express our sympathy and concern for Alison and her family during what must be a distressing time for them.
“Our priority is to ensure that patients receive the highest quality primary care services at all times. We have not yet received a complaint by Alison or her family but should we do so, we will take the issue forward and investigate it thoroughly.”