Teen dies after terminal cancer misdiagnosed as arthritis

Brooke Rolfe
News Reporter

A teenager whose symptoms were initially thought to be caused by arthritis has died after doctors discovered a cancerous tumour on her spinal cord.

Alix Cassidy died aged 16 after a seven-month period of rapid declining health while her family fought for answers in what her mother, Caron, described as an “incompetent” health system.

The Scottish teen’s condition worsened to a point where she couldn’t feel her legs, arms or fingers, with a lack of movement later resulting in blood clots in her lungs.

When doctors eventually performed a biopsy, they discovered a tumour had grown on the teen’s spine, according to a post from her mother on a GoFundMe page.

Alix Cassidy passed away this week after a seven month perioid of rapidly declining health. Source: GoFundMe/Sandra Cassidy

While one doctor allegedly told Alix the growth was minor, another told the mother it was fatal, and all the family could do was “keep her comfortable”.

“I’m not the kind of person who puts something this personal on here but want to warn others of what Ali has been through due to incompetent GPs,” Ms Cassidy wrote.

The family established the fundraising page to raise money for treatment to save Alix’s life.

“Ali has been going to doctors since mid October to December (2018) about her numb fingers and sore back. The GP took loads of blood tests and told her it was likely to be arthritis and referred her to a rheumatologist,” the mother said.

“A few days before Christmas I took her to Accident and Emergency as it was ridiculous a 16-year-old couldn’t use her fingers.”

The mother then decided to try a private doctor and was told Alix’s condition was unlikely arthritis and she needed to be admitted to hospital urgently.

She was admitted on January 10, but by the 12th she had no feeling in her left leg, so she was scheduled for an MRI, which finally revealed she had a cancerous growth.

Caron Cassidy (right) believed doctors could have done more to diagnose her daughter sooner. Source: Facebook

Fourteen weeks down the line from first speaking to a doctor, Alix’s condition had deteriorated so significantly and she couldn’t move out of bed.

Finally, she had the biopsy which revealed she would require chemotherapy, starting the coming Wednesday, to kill the tumour.

Before her treatment started however, her family shared the heartbreaking news that she had passed away.

In an update on Alix’s GoFundMe page on Monday, local time, her mother revealed her daughter had lost her lengthy and painful battle against the tumour.

“Sadly our warrior passed away yesterday morning and is now at peace,” she said.

Ms Cassidy said money raised would contribute to giving Alix the “send off she deserves”, while remaining funds would be donated to charity.

Speaking with The Sun, Ms Cassidy said she wrongly put her trust in a surgeon who “guaranteed” her Alix had some kind of inflammation disease.

“He’s spent 14 weeks battering my child’s life about,” she told the publication.

The mother believes if doctors had have performed a reflex test they could have identified and treated Alix’s tumour sooner, and potentially saved her life.

“This is an incredibly complex case with a very difficult diagnostic process, a spokesman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde previously said.

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