THE mother of a teenage girl who died after health professionals failed to diagnose her brain tumour is appealing to doctors’ surgeries to display literature highlighting the symptoms of the condition.
Lucy Goulding was 16 when she died in June 2013. An inquest into her death found that her symptoms were ‘not taken with sufficient seriousness’ nor were her mum’s anxieties.
Now, Antonella Goulding, of Ringmer Road, Tarring, is appealing to GP surgeries across Sussex to display leaflets and information to educate people on the symptoms of brain tumours.
Mrs Goulding said: “If I knew these symptoms my Lucy would be alive because I could have challenged the GP and the health professionals, but being totally ignorant and believing blindly, tragedies can happen.
“This is my Lucy driving me on and saying I haven’t suffered all this for nothing. There has to be a reason.
“I’m hoping it will touch GPs’ hearts in a positive way. I’m sure they actually want to prevent children’s deaths. They want to help people. I would like to think that’s what GPs are there for.
“What I think my message to the public would be is, if they do have a child that is very ill, challenge the health professionals and follow their instinct always.”
At the end of August, Mrs Goulding sent 60 packs containing Lucy’s story, a questionnaire, information on brain tumours and a letter she had written to GP surgeries across West Sussex, with a two month deadline for them to return their feedback.
So far only Steyning Health Centre and three practices from the Chichester area have responded.
Mrs Goulding said: “There’s been none from Worthing whatsoever and that’s appalling, but I would like to be positive and think the others will rush in before the end of October.”
The printing and postage costs have been covered by Lucia’s Foundation, which was set up following Lucy’s death.
“The public have raised the money and I’m very grateful for that and it’s very important that they know they are helping with this,” said Mrs Goulding.
She added: “There are hundreds and hundreds of rare diseases but brain tumours are the number one killer and they kill very quickly. From the onset of symptoms to the death or the child being severely handicapped it’s very quick.
“I’m appealing to them (GPs) to understand the reasons why Lucy was misdiagnosed and why she died. To put literature out for the public so they can ultimately help themselves.
“Of course, GPs get trained on the symptoms of brain tumours but they may only encounter these one or twice in their practice.
“Loading the public with knowledge will give the parents the chance to spot signs that they could ultimately miss.”
Symptoms and signs
Symptoms and tumour position
Some symptoms depend on the position of the tumour. They happen because the tumour prevents that part of the brain from working normally. We’ve listed below the types of symptoms you may have, relating to where the tumour is:
In the frontal lobe – changes in personality or behaviour, uncoordinated walking or weakness on one side of the body.
In the parietal lobe – difficulty with speech and understanding, problems writing, reading and doing simple calculations, difficulty finding your way around, numbness or weakness on one side of the body.
In the temporal lobe – difficulties with speech or problems with memory.
In the occipital lobe – problems with sight or losing part of your vision.
In the cerebellum – lack of coordination, double vision or blurred vision, unsteadiness or problems with speech.
In the brain stem – dizziness, unsteady and
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