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Toddler Dies From Rare Form Of Cancer After Being Misdiagnosed With Constipation

One of every parent's worst nightmares is most definitely their child being misdiagnosed, especially after taking them to a medical professional that they know and trust. We have this gut feeling that comes over us whenever we know that there is something more serious going on with our children and advocate on their behalf. British mom, Eilish Flanagan's daughter was misdiagnosed with constipation earlier this year, whenever she was actually suffering from a rare cancer, and she has set out to raise awareness.

Back in June, Flanagan, of Rayleigh, brought her daughter Aoife Flanagan-Gibbs to a doctor after the toddler was experiencing pain in her stomach, along with other parts of her body. The mother was told that her girl was just suffering from constipation, despite the fact that Aoife also had a visible tumor on her bottom.

She shared, "I took her to see the [general practitioner] 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."

Stethoscope on pastel blue table. Doctor tool for heartbeat and noise of lungs listening. Healthcare concept. Empty place for text, quote, sayings or logo. Top view.
Credit: iStock

The whole situation got even worse whenever the doctors even started to accuse Flanagan of not feeding her daughter properly, according to Essex Live. She was then dismissed by the doctors whenever she would continue to press them about her worries of her daughter's poor health.

"As a mother, I knew there was something else wrong," she said. "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."

She was then transferred to a different hospital where the family received an X-ray scan that revealed a tumor in another part of Aoife's body.

"She had a huge tumor in her liver blocking her bowel," the mother said. "When we were waiting to be transferred to [that hospital], 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."

The second hospital was able to make the correct diagnoses: germ cell cancer. This disease is caused by a malignant tumor (normally found in the ovary or testis) that only accounts for about 3 percent of childhood cancer registrations in the United Kingdom, according to Children with Cancer UK. While the survival rate is high (93%), in this case the diagnoses came much too late.

The family donated her organs, tissues and tumors for research, and are working on a charity to help educate people about this rare cancer. This will be supported through a GoFundMe campaign.

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