A nine-year-old boy with brain cancer has received an apology from blundering hospital bosses after he had to visit FOUR TIMES before he was eventually diagnosed.
Brave Ben Simpson was first taken to hospital by his dad, Lee Almond, after he lost weight rapidly and was unable to keep food down.
The schoolboy from Orpington, south east London, was eventually diagnosed with grade four medulloblastoma in September.
His family are now raising money for him to receive Proton Beam Therapy, which is not available in the UK until later this year.
Lee, 34, said: “He knows something is going on, but I don’t want to tell him what it is.
“It is enough to scare an adult.
“I told him that everyone has fluid in their head and he has a little too much and has to get it drained.
“It was August when he started getting sick in the mornings. and at first we put it down to a sickness bug.
“Then we noticed if he had something to eat, he would get sick within five seconds.
“He lost weight rapidly and went to about five or six stone.
“Even if he laid down to go to sleep he would get sick.
“We went back to hospital and they put it down to his partial seizures because he has epilepsy.
“We were sent for an ECG but that won’t pick anything up in the brain.”
Lee believes a lot of what Ben has endured could have been avoided if the Princess Royal University Hospital had diagnosed his son quicker.
The boy underwent a 13 hour operation to remove the tumour, but it could return if he doesn’t have Proton Beam Therapy, which will cost the family £100,000.
They have raised more than £11,000.
Lee added: “The day we found out – Ben’s granddad begged the hospital not to send him home yet again.
“He demanded a second opinion, they then sent us to Kings College and the next day he had an operation to stop the pressure in his head.
“How come it got to stage where the tumour was the size of a tangerine and was so big it had to be operated on?
“Now he has a big scar on the top of his head.
“When they put it down to epilepsy they should have done follow-ups because a quick Google search tells you that tumours have long been associated with epilepsy.”
A spokesman for King’s College NHS Foundation Trust said: “Brain tumours in children are incredibly rare and often very difficult to detect.
“The symptoms can sometimes be similar to less serious conditions.
“In this case, the patient’s existing medical condition – as well as the medication prescribed to treat it – may have made detection more difficult.
“We are sorry that it took four visits to our Emergency Department before a diagnosis was confirmed and Ben was subsequently treated.
“Since then we have been in contact with the patient’s family to give our apologies.
“We have offered to meet them to apologise in person and learn what we can from this.”