A YOUNG dancer is recovering after undergoing surgery to remove a rare tumour which was missed several times by GPs and could have left her paralysed.
Lucy Redmond’s parents said doctors at Thorpe Hesley Clinic dismissed the seven-year-old’s leg pain seven times and only referred her for a scan after she had collapsed and gone to A&E.
It was only after she was finally send to Sheffield Children’s Hospital that medics found she had a rare tumour — of a kind seen only three times by a leading surgeon — on her spine and a broken bone her back.
She underwent surgery in April and had five metal rods inserted into her back.
Andrew (37) and Rachel Redmond (35) said teachers at Thorpe Hesley Infant School first noticed in January that Lucy was not walking properly.
But when they visited GPs at the Sough Hall Avenue surgery, their concerns were rejected.
Andrew said: “We went to the doctors about seven times between January and March, and all the time they were saying it was growing pains, while we were watching it get worse and worse.”
Lucy was told to take painkillers every two hours, but Andrew said they didn’t even seem to be “touching the pain”.
He added: “She’s a dancer and cheerleader and we kept being told to carry on what she was doing.
“She was doing everything she could but kept sitting out at dance lessons.”
The Redmonds now know Lucy’s pain was getting worse as a cyst on the bottom of her spine was growing and curving the bone.
“She was getting up and crying in pain, and saying: ‘Nobody’s helping me’ and: ‘You don’t know what it’s like’,” Andrew said.
“We were telling her we were trying to help her and that it was just growing pains and she would get over it, but it comes to light now it wasn’t.
“It makes you think about how much pain she must have been in.”
Lucy collapsed at the end of March and her parents took her to Rotherham A&E where they were told she had one leg longer than the other and her gait was wrong.
Andrew said medics at Rotherham A&E said they could understand why the GPs thought it was growing pains, but not why they had not referred her.
The family were told to go back to their GP not leave until they had a referral to orthodepics at Sheffield Children’s Hospital (SCH), Andrew said, and despite their GP saying he could not see anything wrong with Lucy’s legs, he agreed to refer Lucy.
Rachel said an MRI scan at SCH revealed Lucy had a cracked vertebra, which was hanging on by a thread on one side.
The scan also revealed Lucy had a rare aneurysmal bone cyst (ABC) on the same vertebra and around her spinal cord.
Rachel said: “An ABC is really common in arms or legs, but not in the back.”
Andrew said the surgery Lucy needed could only be carried out by three surgeons in Europe and they had gone to the Royal Orthopaedics in Birmingham for the operation on April 28.
Andrew, who owns a care agency, said it had been a risky operation as it could have damaged her nerves and left her paralysed.
Two full surgery teams from the neurology and the spinal unit were required and the surgery took four hours instead of the expected two-and-a-half hours.
Lucy lost 850ml of blood and had to have two blood transfusions.
“If it had been picked up early, the surgery would not have been so dangerous,” said Andrew said.
She spent three weeks away from home recovering in hospital and doctors were amazed at how quickly she bounced back, Andrew said.
Lucy returned home on May 4 and is slowly getting back on her feet, but cannot return to school until next month.
“She’s been smiling all the way through it,” Andrew said.
The couple, who have another daughter, Sophie (13), and a son, Connor (15), have organised a charity night at Owlerton Stadium on September 23 to raise money for the children’s hospital and the Sick Children’s Trust to thank them for the care Lucy received.
To buy tickets or donate raffle prizes, call Andrew on 07557 675963.
A spokeswoman for the GP practice declined to comment on Lucy’s case for confidentiality reasons but added: “We would like to express our sympathy to the family and will continue to provide support during this difficult time.
“Providing the best care for patients is at the forefront of all we do, and we always discuss significant matters within the practice to ensure that we learn from events.”