A three-year-old Irish girl in the UK has died after her doctors allegedly diagnosed her rare form of cancer as constipation.
Aoife Flanagan-Gibbs, from Rayleigh, Essex, England, began to complain of stomach pains in June, says her mother Eilish Flanagan. Flanagan took her daughter to the doctor multiple times but was told that her condition was caused by constipation, Fox News reports.
"I took her to see the GP or a consultant doctor 11 times in three weeks. She'd been in and out of the hospital with different infections and problems but they kept telling us she had common child constipation,” she told Essex Live.
"As a mother I knew there was something else wrong. I raised my concerns and she had pains in other areas of her body but the doctors never examined her. She had a tumor on her bottom but they failed to investigate it.
"We saw as a family, and we've got the support of doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital, that the doctors should never have missed what was wrong with her."
While they were waiting for Aoife to be transferred to another hospital, an X-ray revealed the little girl had a large tumor in her liver that was blocking her bowel.
She was diagnosed with germ cell cancer, which typically forms in a person’s reproductive cells but can also form in the abdomen, brain and chest.
This cancer, even through rare, is highly treatable, even in the later stages, but it was too late for Aoife.
"It's not about blame or anger, it's about accountability. On the first night in Southend Hospital they told me I wasn't feeding her properly or that she needed more exercise, but she had her horse and she rode her out every day.
"She had a huge tumor in her liver blocking her bowel.
"When we were waiting to be transferred to GOSH we were shown an x-ray and you could see the diseases and tumors. We were aware it was in her liver and we knew we were in a bad situation.
"We were told by consultants at GOSH that she had germ cell cancer and it was welcomed because that type of cancer is so reactive to chemotherapy.
"But it was just too late. They didn't give us a fair chance.
"She was scared because she had lost quite a lot of weight but she still had the courage in her and she was fighting with every ounce of her body, she was so brave."
On July 7, only five days after her diagnosis, Aoife suffered a heart attack and died in her mother’s arms.
This morning I have woken up to so much support for Aoife and her story, her beautiful little face is shining so...Publiée par Eilish Flanagan sur Mardi 3 septembre 2019
"It was completely unexpected, she had a huge cardiac arrest," Flanagan told Essex Live. "I held her because I knew something was wrong with her. She died in my arms.
"As soon as she passed away and I was out of the hospital I knew she couldn't end there. Her life on this planet, that couldn't just be it. We needed to do something for the other children.
"I was researching germ cell cancer and there's no charity for it. It's rare but very real, it can happen to anybody.
"I donated part of her organs, tissues and tumors to doctors so we can learn how to give more chances to other children. It couldn't be in vain."
Flanagan said of her young daughter: "She was very much a wild child."
"She was so happy, bubbly and bouncy. And the best word to describe her is kind.”
Flanagan said she is in the process of creating the only germ cell cancer charity in the UK called “Aoife’s Bubbles," after her daughter's beloved Shetland pony Bubbles.
“We are awaiting our charity registration, but we will be the U.K.'s only registered childhood Germ Cell cancer charity. We want to raise as much awareness and educate as many people as possible about the symptoms, diagnosis, and effect of this rare disease,” Flanagan wrote on the charity’s website, Aoife's Bubbles.