Mum says 6 doctors ‘fobbed her off’ and failed to detect late daughter’s cancer
A grieving mum whose daughter died of a rare form of lung cancer says she was ‘fobbed off’ by medics who failed to detect it – despite seeing SIX doctors.
Little Megan Clarkson, aged two, died in January after developing a cough in 2016, which her mum claims doctors said was nothing more than an infection.
Her devastated mum Kelly, from Kirkcaldy, Fife, says she took her daughter to see a total of six doctors and five nurses over a period of 28 months, the Daily Record reports.
But she claims she was "fobbed off" by GPs for two years with no recommendation of an X-ray, despite Megan’s respiratory rate having increased to double the normal level.
The youngster had begun to lose weight and her chest was indrawing, which is known as subcostal recession – a sign of breathing difficulties.
Kelly said Megan had a persistent cough since starting nursery at six months of age, was being sick after eating and was off solids as far back as November 2016.
After four months of being constantly told it was nothing more than an upper respiratory tract infection and that "some kids cough", Kelly stopped going to her GP.
In 2018 her daughter had pain under her arm and bruising that would not go away.
She told a nurse practitioner that little Megan had a chesty cough and was choking at night, but was given antibiotics which the youngster could not swallow.
Kelly, who has a son Myles, aged five, said: "Looking back we feel let down by Megan’s care when she was around eight to ten months old.
"Early detection of cancer is your best hope for defeating it and at an earlier stage Megan would have had a 90 per cent chance of survival and at the end, this had dropped to 37 per cent.
"I just think the numbers speak for themselves."
She added: "Early detection could have saved her life, but the only way we’d have got that is if the doctors had looked passed the viral infections and the ‘come-back-if-it-gets-worse’ attitude.
"When you do come back and it is worse, you feel fobbed off.
"You feel let down and you’re less likely to go back and try to find out if there’s anything wrong with your child."
Kelly was then given the first of two inhalers to help her daughter breathe and was told the youngster may have asthma, but things took a turn for the worst in December.
Megan was taken to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh after Kelly said she had to be "nasty" in her demands to see a doctor and not a nurse practitioner.
By this time the X-ray showed a "white out" lung, which is often a sign of pneumonia.
But Megan was diagnosed with type three Pleuropulmonary Blastoma – a rare and aggressive form of lung cancer found in children.
Her windpipe had shifted to her left side, which meant her condition could deteriorate quickly.
Little Megan was then taken to the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow where an ultrasound of her heart showed the tumour mass had grown.
Her best chance of survival being an operation to remove it.
The youngster was operated on and had her whole right lung removed, but suffered a massive bleed and cardiac arrest.
She died at nine minutes past midnight on January 2 – just three weeks after being diagnosed.
But despite everything Kelly refuses to point the finger at NHS Fife, believing there has been a "systemic failure" that has let everyone down.
Kelly said: "It’s not specific to any one person, it’s letting down the whole system which is letting down the people who work there as well.
"I believe that nobody is given the chance to do their jobs properly and to help children like Megan.
"I don’t see how that’s going to be different in the future without a massive change in the system.
"We need to have an investigation into the practices around how we care for children, particularly young children who can’t talk for themselves and improve the level of service that we’re offered."
NHS Fife medical director Dr Frances Elliot said: "The death of any child is a tragedy and our thoughts and condolences are with the family at this very difficult time.
"NHS Fife has not received any direct communication from the family.
"However, we would extend an offer to meet with the family to discuss the concerns they have raised."
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