The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly affected the lives of many people, leaving many individuals dead and hundreds of thousands struggling with other health problems.
A family of three was also affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, but not by the virus itself, but by the fact that they could not see a doctor to treat their child, who was screaming in pain.
The child was misdiagnosed with constipation by the doctors over the phone, while he was actually suffering from cancer, which eventually left him paralyzed from the waist down.
The toddler’s parents, Sarah and Phillip, initially became concerned when they noticed that their son, Ollie, was weeping a lot and had a bloated tummy. They called the doctors, but the only appointment they could obtain was a phone appointment due to COVID. The doctors thought that he could be suffering from constipation.
“He was in so much pain all the time. He had been such a happy baby so it wasn’t like him. The doctors said it was constipation. But I knew that something was wrong. I would put him to bed and as soon as he laid down he was screaming. Now I know that it’s because the tumor was pressing on his stomach,” Sarah said.
During the following three months, Ollie could not stop crying, and his parents took him to the pediatrician fifteen times, but each time they were told that he was suffering from constipation or colic.
Ollie awoke one morning and, while attempting to stand up, crashed to the floor. His parents thought he was messing with them at first, but shortly after became aware that he actually had lost all feeling and sensation in his legs.
The couple acted quickly to get him to the hospital, where tests confirmed their worst fears. His stomach had a tumor the size of an apple, and he was suffering from the severe form of childhood cancer known as neuroblastoma. It had also spread to his spine, which was ultimately what led to the paralysis.
“It was devastating news. We couldn’t believe what we were being told. After all this time, he had been crying because the tumor had been causing him so much pain,” Sarah said.
Ollie went through tough chemotherapy treatments, which helped shrink the tumor, but he is still paralyzed from the waist down.
“We don’t know if he will ever walk. The general practitioner’s office has apologized and said that due to COVID, his cancer has been missed. But if he had been seen earlier, then it would have been caught before it had spread to his spine and paralyzed him,” Sarah added.
Ollie has routine scans, and the size of his tumor has decreased to that of a walnut. Since his diagnosis in January, no new tumor growth has been found, and his doctors have said that he is in remission.