Child who doctors accused of 'faking' symptoms diagnosed with cancer

Mother urges parents to trust their instincts after her daughter, 6, who doctor said was ‘faking’ her symptoms to get treats is diagnosed with a rare blood cancer

  • Emma Osborne from Beechdale, Nottingham, is the mother of Elizabeth, six
  • Online content creator took daughter to A&E eight times due to hip pain 
  • Doctors said Elizabeth is faking symptoms because she gets a treat after hospital
  • She has since been diagnosed with a rare Hodgkin’s Lymphoma blood cancer

A mother whose six-year-old daughter has been diagnosed with a rare blood cancer, revealed doctors initially thought she was ‘faking’ symptoms in order to get treats. 

Emma Osborne from Beechdale, Nottingham, took her daughter Elizabeth, to A&E eight times, when she complained about excruciating hip pain.

But each time, blood tests and X-rays came back clear and Elizabeth was sent home, with one medic even allegedly telling Emma they believed her daughter was faking the symptoms because she got a treat after every hospital visit.

The mother-of-one who is an online content creator, trusted her daughter and felt in her gut something was wrong. When a lump appeared in Elizabeth’s cheek, she again took her daughter to hospital – where she was diagnosed with a rare type of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma blood cancer. 

Emma Osborne from Beechdale, Nottingham, revealed she had to take her daughter Elizabeth,  to A&E several times before she was diagnosed with cancer. Pictured: Elizabeth in hospital 

Elizabeth woke up screaming in agony earlier this year, with hip pain that worsened despite taking paracetamol and having a massage. Pictured: Elizabeth going for a scan

Emma said she wants to encourage parents to trust their instinct, revealing she had to fight hard for medics to take her seriously. Pictured: Elizabeth, with her parents Emma and James

Elizabeth has since started a course of chemotherapy, but Emma wants to warn other parents to trust their kids, their own instinct and push for a second opinion if something doesn’t feel right.

Emma said: ‘It’s been a terrible journey and I hope that no other parent has to go through this.

‘To think that your child is sitting with cancer in her body for seven months with no treatment is just horrific.

‘I want to spread awareness to trust your instincts as a parent because you know your child the best.

‘I was angry that I had fought hard for seven months with nobody taking me seriously.

‘You just need to keep fighting.’

In March this year, Elizabeth woke up screaming in agony with hip pain, and after a dose of childrens’ paracetamol and a massage, the pain only worsened so Emma phoned 111 who then advised the family to go to A&E.

When doctors at Queen’s Medical Centre A&E in Nottingham took an X-ray and blood tests, everything came back clear and they thought Elizabeth could have a transient hip, which is common in children and happens post-illness.

Emma who suffers from arthritis, said she was concerned that Elizabeth’s (pictured) symptoms could be early arthritis 

Emma said on one visit to A&E doctors examined Elizabeth and suggested she could be experiencing growing pains. Pictured: Elizabeth going for a scan

Emma said during another visit to A&E a doctor accused Elizabeth of manipulating them because she gets a reward after each hospital visit. Pictured: Elizabeth in hospital, with her dad

Emma who suffers from arthritis, claims she cannot recall her daughter being ill and began to worry her daughter could have early arthritis.

Emma said: ‘About six weeks later she woke up screaming again, but this time with pain in her left leg, and we had to take her into A&E again.

‘They looked over at her and said it could be growing pains so they sent us home again.

‘This similar pattern went on for weeks because they said if it doesn’t get better then we should come back.

‘Eventually a doctor in A&E told me that it was down to parenting, that she was manipulating us because we would reward her after a visit to the hospital.

Elizabeth (pictured) was given an eight week course of medication, after a blood test revealed she had a vitamin D deficiency 

‘I was getting really frustrated because deep down I knew something wasn’t right with my child, that was deeper than what wasn’t showing up on X-rays or bloods.’

The concerned parents continued back and forth to A&E, and eventually a blood test found a vitamin D deficiency, but after an eight week course of medication, Elizabeth’s pain persisted.

The situation turned to horror in June, when a painless lump developed in Elizabeth’s cheek, that was initially thought to be a dental problem, lead her to be referred to a Maxillofacial department.

A community children’s team nurse who got in touch with the family then agreed to refer Elizabeth for an MRI.

The scan found a bone abnormality in her leg, 5cm below her knee and it was confirmed she had tumours in her face, throughout her skull and jawline.

A painless lump was discovered in Elizabeth’s cheek, with a biopsy diagnosing it as rare B-Cell Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoblastic Lymphoma. Pictured: Elizabeth in hospital, with Emma

Emma said the diagnosis struck her husband hard, but admits she’s relieved to have answers for what was wrong with Elizabeth (pictured)

A biopsy of a lump in her face then confirmed the worst, that Elizabeth had a rare B-Cell Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoblastic Lymphoma after a near 7 month battle for answers.

The six-year-old was diagnosed on October 6, and began her gruelling two-and-a-half year course of chemotherapy the same week.

Emma said: ‘She was diagnosed earlier this month and she went straight to the hospital to start chemo.

‘It struck my husband pretty hard but I was somewhat relieved now that I had answers to my instinct that I knew something was wrong with my child.

‘We’re really grateful to the doctors who helped get things rolling immediately as the results came in.

Emma said she’s grateful that doctors have helped get things rolling, with Elizabeth (pictured) immediately starting her two-and-a-half year course of chemotherapy

What is B-Cell Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoblastic Lymphoma?  

Lymphoblastic lymphoma is a rare type of fast-growing non-Hodgkin lymphoma, according to Macmillan.

Developed when the body makes abnormal lymphocytes, the cancer can form both B-cell and T-cell lymphocytes. 

Symptoms may include chest pain, swelling, night sweats, unexplained changes in weight and shortness of breath.  

The causes of the condition are mostly unknown, however it is usually diagnosed with a biopsy.  

Cancer Center reports, treatment may include chemotherapy, targeted therapy and sometimes radiation therapy. Surgery may be required in some cases to remove obstructive tumors.   

‘Now we can work towards getting her better.’

Elizabeth’s parents are raising money so she can help keep up her hobbies of dancing, playing video games and Brownies while in hospital.

Emma added: ‘She loves to game and she has a little computer at home which isn’t great but it lets her play games and hang out with her friends.

‘While she’s going through her treatment, we thought it might be nice to go through it with the laptop so she can keep up with her friends and dance classes.

‘We also want to be able to give her clubs a device to help them transmit the classes for her to her to join in.

‘Her journey is a long one so we want to get her to feel as though she’s connected to the world outside the hospital for her mental health.

Emma explained they’re raising money for Elizabeth (pictured) to continue her hobbies, because they don’t want her to think life has stopped because she’s having chemotherapy

Emma said she wants Elizabeth (pictured) to feel connected to the outside world for her mental health, revealing their planning ways for her to stay in contact with friends 

‘We want it to feel like her life hasn’t stopped just because she’s in bed on chemotherapy.’

A spokesperson from Nottingham University Hospitals Trust, said: ‘We are sorry if Elizabeth or her mum felt her concerns were not listened to.

‘Sadly childhood cancer can be very difficult to diagnose, especially with a very rare form such as this, and medical staff often need to carry out numerous tests to rule out other conditions before arriving at a diagnosis.

‘We wish Elizabeth a swift recovery and strongly urge people to ensure they contact a doctor if they think there is something wrong with their child, themselves or a loved one.’

To donate to Lizzi’es Cancer Fund, click here

A spokesperson from Nottingham University Hospitals Trust, explained childhood cancer can be difficult to diagnose. Pictured: Elizabeth with her dad

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