Medical Negligence

Investigation to focus on whether 15-month-old Darcy’s brain tumour could have been spotted earlier by doctors

4 min read time

Hudgell Solicitors are supporting a Hull mother in questioning the negligent treatment of her 15-month-old daughter, who was found to have a brain tumour after weeks of being seriously ill.

Lindsey Gooch, 22, called an ambulance after seeing her little girl Darcy’s condition rapidly deteriorate at home, becoming drowsy and floppy and unable to hold her head up straight.

Miss Gooch says her daughter had been losing weight and suffered from continued sickness and tiredness in the weeks previous, sleeping for unusually long periods. She had taken her to the doctors and A&E at Hull Royal Infirmary on a number of occasions.

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The misdiagnosis

She had been diagnosed with chicken pox and a virus on two previous visits to A&E, despite her recent history of illness, and having rushed her to the hospital again on Saturday, September 19, Miss Gooch says Darcy was discharged to return home the same day, with doctors again putting her illness down to a viral infection.

When her condition failed to improve over the weekend, her GP sent her back to hospital, with an MRI scan eventually identifying the tumour.

Within an hour of the tumour being discovered on the scan, Darcy was rushed to Leeds General Infirmary, where she was given steroids and had the tumour removed in a 22-hour operation.

Thankfully, that operation was hailed a success, and doctors are confident that all the tumour was removed.

Darcy has also been allowed to return home with her family in Hull, and they have been told the tumour was not cancerous. She will need to undergo chemotherapy in Leeds every two weeks for the next 13 months to ensure any stray cells are caught.

Now, mum-of-three Miss Gooch, and her partner Tim Cunningham, of West Hull, are asking serious questions as to whether the tumour could and should have been spotted earlier. She said:

I was so mad because they didn’t listen to me. I knew there was something really wrong as Darcy had been so ill for so long. We have been kicked from pillar to post with her and it felt like nobody was listening at all for many weeks.

They thought she may have had some fluid on the brain from having chicken pox. I still get really angry when I’m talking about it. I am so mad and upset. I feel like shouting ‘you didn’t listen to me’. A mother knows her own child and knows when something is really wrong.

I really believe that if I hadn’t kept on at them, and kept going back, she maybe wouldn’t have been here for Christmas. It seemed like a bad dream, and still does, because it doesn’t feel real to see your baby girl so ill and needing such a big, dangerous operation.

Darcy currently has to be fed through a tube and has been left with slight nerve damage to her throat and to the left side of her face following the surgery.

It means her mouth drops, one eyelid doesn’t close fully and one of her vocal cords has been affected. She also has a large scar at the back of her head where the tumour was removed.

Her treatment

She now faces more than a year of chemotherapy treatment, and having seen her daughter endure a 22-hour brain operation to remove the tumour in Leeds on September 25, Miss Gooch says she wants other parents to be strong when expressing their concerns to doctors.

I can’t even look at Darcy without wanting to cry when I think of what she has been through, but I know I did my part and didn’t stop until I got the answers. I know they were bad answers, but I feel getting those answers saved her life.

Miss Gooch, the mother also of Brooklyn, three, and Mason, four months, is being supported by Hudgell Solicitors in investigating the circumstances around Darcy’s treatment.

A senior solicitor at Hudgell Solicitors said:

There are clearly a number of concerns over the treatment Darcy received on the many occasions she was taken to Hull Royal Infirmary.

Miss Gooch took her to hospital concerned she was seriously ill, so questions need to be asked as to whether greater examinations, and the possibility of a tumour, could have been considered earlier.

We will be assisting the family in ensuring these serious questions surrounding Darcy’s care are asked, and that a full investigation is carried out as to whether with more detailed examinations, the possibility of a tumour could have been considered earlier.

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