A seriously ill dad-of-one was forced to Google his own symptoms to find out he was suffering from a rare medial condition – despite visiting doctors 150 TIMES.
Carl Holt, 34, was subjected to two years of GP and hospital appointments suffering constant throat pain after he fell ill on a family holiday in July 2010.
The sales manager lost four-and-a-half stone and went from playing football twice a week to being tired all of the time.
Despite hospital appointments and visits to his doctor up to SIX times a month, medics could not work out what was wrong with him.
Carl feared he had the symptoms of cancer and was so worried he even contemplated suicide.
But after researching his symptoms on the internet and watching videos on Youtube, he found out about a rare condition called Eagle Syndrome.
Remarkably, despite telling doctors about the disease, Carl was never tested for it at three separate GP practices or the University Hospital of North Staffordshire.
Carl then decided to pay for private care at Salford Hospital in Greater Manchester in October last year and was finally diagnosed with the rare medical condition within MINUTES of his first visit.
He slammed the NHS for failing to spot the condition despite the staggering amount of GP and hospital appointments.
Carl , who lives in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs., fumed: “People started questioning my mental health because I was always at the doctors, yet they could never find out what was wrong with me.
“Through research, I found out about a condition called Eagle Syndrome, which seemed to tick all the symptoms I was suffering.
“I saw videos about it on YouTube and Googled it but even though I told my doctors about it, no-one would believe me or test me for it.
“It was so frustrating. The pain and the symptoms wouldn’t go away but doctors just weren’t interested and would just tell me to take painkillers.
“I even paid to go and get second opinions privately but every time I did it was the same doctors I had seen on the NHS.
“Because I had a sore throat for so long I thought I had throat cancer.
“At the time I was on the cusp of becoming a dad and I worried I would never get to see my daughter.
“I felt anxious and depressed and contemplated suicide.
“When I finally got the diagnosis, I felt a lot of relief.
“I saw a consultant in Manchester and within minutes of looking at my CT scan he confirmed it was Eagle Syndrome.
“I was appalled – it just shows that if all the other doctors listened to me instead of fobbing me off then I would have been diagnosed two years earlier.”
Symptoms of Eagle Syndrome include throat and ear pain as a result of small bones to the rear of the throat becoming calcified, or hardened.
Sufferers often have the feeling something is stuck in their throat and have difficult swallowing as well as facial pains.
Carl, who spent a staggering #10,000 on trying to get a correct diagnosis over the two years, is now being treated as a NHS patient at Salford Royal Hospital.
He had anti-inflammatory injections on March 8 this year and has a follow up appointment later this year to see if he needs painful surgery or more injections.
Carl, who lives with his wife Toni, 30, and daughter Ruby, two, added: “It was some sort of virus that set it all off. I felt tired all the time. I lost four-and-a-half stone in weight.
“I went from 18-stone, physically fit, playing football twice a week and leading a very active life, to simply going to work, then coming home and going to sleep.
“I had injections that went straight into the styroid ligaments. It was the first time in over two years that I didn’t have a pain in my throat.
“I still don’t feel 100 per cent, I would say I’m at 80 per cent now.
“I’ve spent #10,000 over the two-and-a-half years but at least I have answers now.”
Wife Toni added: “I feel a bit guilty because I was one of the people thinking there was nothing wrong with him.
“But Carl was right all along.
“He went from being the life and soul of the party to a shadow of himself.”
A spokesman for University Hospital of North Staffordshire said: “We cannot comment on individual patient cases as the trust is bound by rules of patient confidentiality.
“However, we can confirm Mr Holt will be meeting University Hospital consultants and will be able to raise any concerns directly.”
* Eagle Syndrome is caused by an elongated styloid process – a piece of bone which extends down from the skull.
* Sufferers notice a collection of symptoms including recurrent throat and ear pain, the feeling something is stuck in their throat, difficulty swallowing and facial pain.
* Diagnosis is made radiographically or by physical examination and treatment can be both surgical and non-surgical.