London

Boy died from 'undiagnosed tumour'

  • 9 January 2014
  • From the section London
Max Earley with his mother Caroline Image copyright PA
Image caption Max Earley was misdiagnosed at two hospitals

A two-year-old boy died after a brain tumour went undiagnosed for several weeks, an inquest has heard.

Max Earley became ill in August 2012 but despite being seen by several doctors his tumour went undiagnosed.

Westminster Coroner's Court heard it was only diagnosed by consultants at Great Ormond Street Hospital days before he died the following month.

The court heard that a series of things "went wrong" between Max being admitted and finally being diagnosed.

The inquest was told that after several visits to his GP, his mother Caroline Earley took him to Accident and Emergency at Hillingdon Hospital in Uxbridge, west London, where he was admitted.

The paediatrician who saw Max suspected he may have a brain tumour and ordered a CT scan, but it was incorrectly deemed clear by a radiologist.

Another test to look at a possible gastro-intestinal cause returned an abnormal result, so attention shifted to the cause of his illness as doctors suspected Max had a hernia.

The youngster was due to have an MRI scan of his brain to double-check whether he had a tumour, but that was put on hold as doctors focused on gastro-intestinal causes.

The inquest heard treatment was passed to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, where doctors tried to find the cause of his illness.

But as the weeks passed, his condition continued to worsen, and his parents described watching him slowly deteriorate.

'De-bulk tumour'

Mrs Earley, from Harefield, near Hillingdon, told the court that as his condition worsened, she told doctors she feared her son was dying.

As they still struggled to find the cause, she said: "I knew he was so seriously ill, something had to be done, we couldn't waste any more time."

On 23 September 2012 Max's weight had dropped to the same as when he was 12 months old and he would cover his face with a teddy bear to avoid light, Mrs Earley said.

The inquest heard that a day later he was rushed to Great Ormond Street Hospital where he was diagnosed.

Despite an operation to "de-bulk" the tumour, Max never recovered and he died four days later.

Coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe told the court there were too many doctors involved leading to information being "lost in translation".

The hearing continues.

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