3-Year-Old Dies In Her Mother's Arms From Rare Cancer After Being Misdiagnosed With Constipation

3-Year-Old Dies In Her Mother's Arms From Rare Cancer After Being Misdiagnosed With Constipation

Her mother claimed doctors wrote off her 3-year-old daughter’s stomach pains as constipation before the young girl died in her arms just days after she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

For a parent, taking their children to the doctor is always a stressful time, especially during toddlerhood. There's nothing worse than having your child misdiagnosed by a medical professional that you place your trust in. There are times when parents understand the ailment or condition even better as they can intuitively assess that there may be something more serious with their child, than what the doctors have affirmed. 

Back in June, Eilish Flanagan from the UK took her 3-year-old daughter Aoife Flanagan-Gibbs to a doctor after she had been experiencing tremendous pain in her stomach and other parts of her body. They were told that the girl was just suffering from constipation, despite the fact that she had a visible tumor on her bottom. Concerned, Flanagan took her daughter to the doctor multiple times even after — but claims she was told each time Aoife’s condition was only due to constipation.


 According to Essex Live, little Aoife had pains all over her body, a visible tumor on her bottom and another in her liver, and doctors even blamed Aoife's mum for not feeding her properly. "I took her to see the GP or a consultant doctor 11 times in three weeks. She'd been in and out of the hospital with different infections and problems but they kept telling us she had common child constipation,” Eilish said. "As a mother, I knew there was something else wrong. I raised my concerns and she had pains in other areas of her body but the doctors never examined her,” she told the outlet, claiming Aoife had a visible tumor on her bottom that doctors “failed to investigate.”


She was then transferred to a different hospital where the family received an X-ray scan that revealed a tumor in another part of Aoife's body. But then, the unthinkable happened. On July 7, the three-year-old was suddenly diagnosed with a rare, germ cell cancer, and she tragically died just five days after receiving the news. "She had a huge tumor in her liver blocking her bowel," the mother said. "When we were waiting to be transferred to [that hospital], we were shown an X-ray, and you could see the diseases and tumors. We were aware it was in her liver and we knew we were in a bad situation."


The second hospital was able to make the correct diagnosis: germ cell cancer. This disease is caused by a malignant tumor (normally found in the ovary or testis) that only accounts for about 3 percent of childhood cancer registrations in the United Kingdom, according to Children with Cancer UK. While the survival rate is high (93%), in this case, the diagnosis came much too late. "This type of cancer is highly treatable, even in the later stages. But it was too late for Aoife," her mother said.


"I held her because I knew something was wrong with her. She died in my arms,” she told Essex Live. “It was just too late. They didn't give us a fair chance,” she said. "She was scared because she had lost quite a lot of weight but she still had the courage in her and she was fighting with every ounce of her body, she was so brave." The outlet reported that some of Aiofe’s organs, tumors and tissues were donated for research purposes. 


“It couldn’t be in vain,” she noted. "She was very much a wild child,” Flanagan said of her daughter, who enjoyed her pony, Bubbles, and “absolutely adored Queen Elsa from 'Frozen.'” "She was so happy, bubbly and bouncy. And the best word to describe her is kind,” she added. "We saw as a family, and we've got the support of doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital, that the doctors should never have missed what was wrong with her."

Flanagan is now in the process of finalizing a charity called “'Aoife’s Bubbles'.“We are awaiting our charity registration, but we will be the U.K.'s only registered childhood Germ Cell cancer charity. We want to raise as much awareness and educate as many people as possible about the symptoms, diagnosis, and effect of this rare disease,” the mother says on the charity’s website. 

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