Mother says doctors missed baby’s grapefruit-sized brain tumour despite videos of child having seizures

Mum Chloe Wright said her concerns for her daughter’s health were repeatedly dismissed by doctors who sent them home despite videos of her baby’s seizures

Furvah Shah
Monday 28 March 2022 14:55
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<p>Baby Esmai is currently undergoing chemotherapy for her brain tumour</p>

Baby Esmai is currently undergoing chemotherapy for her brain tumour

A mum has criticised doctors for repeatedly missing her baby daughter’s brain tumour, leaving the child with a 50 per cent chance of survival.

Chloe Wright, 26, from Stoke-on-Trent said her daughter, Esmai, was sent home from hospital several times despite suffering multiple seizures - which she repeatedly recorded and shared with doctors.

One-year-old Esmai was later diagnosed with a rare and aggressive anaplastic ependymoma tumour that is about the size of a grapefruit.

Ms Wright, a bartender, said doctors gave a her a different diagnosis every time they visited A&E where it was insisted her daughter was “perfectly healthy”.

The mum said she first knew something was wrong when her Esmai began “staring into space” in October last year.

Chloe Wright with one-year-old Esmai

Her local GP referred Esmai to a walk-in-centre where she diagnosed with rigors - commonly known as absent seizures.

The two of them were sent home, but later that day, Esmai suffered further seizures and was rushed to Royal Stoke Hospital via ambulance.

The first video of Esmai’s seizures was taken in the hospital on October 6 last year and shows Esmai appearing to go into a trance with her eyes wide open.

But, despite showing medics the videos, Ms Wright was repeatedly told Esmai that was “perfectly healthy”.The next day, Esmai was filmed at home suffering a similar episode.

She was finally diagnosed with a large tumour, which a CT scan revealed was the size of a grapefruit and has caused her entire brain to be pushed over to the left side of her head.

Baby Esmai has undergone surgery

Esmai is currently undergoing chemotherapy, which has left the baby with painful ulcers and burns in her mouth.

Ms Wright said: “We went through a cycle of Esmai having seizures which I would film and show to the healthcare team when we went to hospital.

“Every time we saw a doctor, we had a different diagnosis and each time, we were told that she was perfectly healthy and to wait for the referral letter.”

“I am obviously really angry that it took this long to diagnose my little girl. It is not common at her age to have seizures,” she continued.

The mum said she knew her baby was unwell and is angry her concerns were dismissed. She said: “They could have gone down a different route if they had picked it up earlier. I had to fight because I knew something was not right.

“I knew my baby wasn’t well and I asked the doctor if he could do something, but he said there was nothing wrong with her. I was angry nobody was listening to me.”

Ms Wright shared details of Esmai’s gruelling chemotherapy journey.

“My daughter is on chemotherapy now, every two weeks for a year,” she said. “We have our good and bad days, but I do think this could have been avoided.

“The doctors said she would need at least a year of chemotherapy treatment and that the tumour is life-threatening with a survival rate of 50 per cent.”

Esmai will continue chemotherapy treatments until November and, if the tumour grows, the family will explore treatment options of radiotherapy.

Chief Nurse Ann-Marie Riley, from University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, said: “We understand it is an extremely distressing experience for any parent when their child is unwell and we are very sorry that Ms Wright has had cause to complain about the service she and her child received here at UHNM.

“It is our aim to deliver the highest standards of care possible and we are in contact with Ms Wright so we can fully investigate her concerns and resolve any issues.”

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