Girl, 17, who was told she had arthritis diagnosed with terminal cancer

A teenage girl who was misdiagnosed with arthritis has been told she has terminal cancer.

Alix Cassidy's mum, Caron, revealed that her daughter has burst into tears and told her 'I don't want to die', since her diagnosis.

However, Caron, from Glasgow, Scotland, praised her daughter's strength, while also criticising medical staff for not diagnosing her tumour sooner.

Alix, 17, first visited her GP in October 2018 after her fingers went numb and she was struggling to use them, reports the Daily Record .

She was sent home with painkillers, and following more trips to her local GP and A&E she was repeatedly misdiagnosed. 

Caron, 39, said medics were dismissive when she took Alix to A&E at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and they insisted she wait for a scheduled appointment to examine her “ arthritis ” after Christmas. 

She said: “A few days before Christmas I took Alix to A&E as she had lost the use of her fingers over two months. Staff accused me of trying to rush the appointment and sent us home with painkillers.”

Alix couldn’t open her Christmas presents so the family decided to go private and get a second opinion.

Caron recalls a simple 10-minute reflex test at Nuffield House was enough for a neurologist to confirm Alix didn’t have arthritis – and she was rushed to hospital for an urgent MRI scan. 

Three hours after her scan, doctors at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital told the teenager they had found a tumour on her spinal cord. 

She had to endure a five-hour operation for a surgeon to take a biopsy of the tissue around her spine. 

Caron said: “Alix lost use of her hands and left leg but she had no pain. It was only her back that was sore so they thought she might have an inflammatory disease.”

“Her surgeon told us he had looked at her biopsy and there was in fact no tumour, it was just a growth.  

“We were absolutely delighted but unsure what would happen because we knew something was wrong.”

She stayed at the surgery aftercare unit for eight weeks when neurologists began to speculate that there might be a tumour after all. 

Before her 17th birthday in March, Alix was allowed to go home in a wheelchair and was due to return for another MRI scan but both her arms and legs gave in. 

She was admitted to A&E after she fell at home and was unable to get up. 

Caron said: “When we arrived the surgeon kept assuring us it wasn’t a tumour. We scheduled another biopsy but it was postponed after Alix got blood clots in her lungs.”

On April 25 Alix had another biopsy and the surgeon confirmed she had a cancerous tumour on her spinal cord. 

The next day the heartbroken teenager was told it was incurable. 

Caron said: “Her surgeon told us that the biopsy found an aggressive tumour in her spinal cord. Before the biopsy took place they said the original growth hadn’t changed.

“How they could not have noticed this over five MRI scans and two biopsies is unbelievable.

“He said they originally thought the tumour was at stage 4 but it’s now at stage 9.”

“I’ve been told that I can either take Alix home for palliative care or we can move to the Beatson.”

Despite the NHS introducing stem cell treatment in January, the family have not been offered it. 

A Go Fund Me page has been created to raise £15000 in funds to pay for private stem cell treatment with a Scottish company. 

Kind well-wishers have already raised £3,400 for popular Alix. 

Caron praised her daughter for her strength and determination.

She said:”Alix is amazing. She has her moments when she cries and says I don’t want to die. She’s got her wee dog, her friends and her whole life ahead of her.

“She was supposed to be studying childcare. She’s so brave and she knows we are doing everything we can.”

She added:”The NHS convinced us for 14 weeks that there wasn’t a tumour and now they’ve told us she’s got two months to live. 

“All those months she could have been receiving proper treatment. I’ve lost my job to become Alix’s full time carer. I’ll do everything I can to save her.”

A spokesperson for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: "We understand this is a very difficult time for Alix and her family and fully realise how very upsetting this is for them.

"This is an incredibly complex case with a very difficult diagnostic process and we continue to do all we can to support Alix and to reassure her and her family of the appropriateness of the assessment, diagnosis and treatment in this case."

To donate to the Go Fund Me page click here .

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