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Portimão hospital missed child’s brain tumour three times, diagnosing flu

Portimão hospital has opened an inquiry into how a child with a brain tumour measuring 3.5 cms could have been repeatedly diagnosed to be suffering from the effects of flu.

The 13-year-old boy is meantime “recovering at home” from the emergency surgery he ended up having in Faro hospital after his mother refused, point blank, to accept the doctor’s diagnosis.

As father Carlos Glavão told SIC television news, on being told on the third visit to Portimão casualty that her son was simply suffering from flu, the woman “insisted” on a CAT scan of her son’s head, even if it meant paying for it.

The doctor “did not want to” perform the scan, Galvão told reporters, as she was just as insistent that the boy was suffering from flu. But in the end, the mother’s determination won the day.

When the results came through, the doctor just said that the child had a lesion in his head “and did not present herself any more”, said the father.

Emergency transportation to Faro followed where doctors managed to drain the liquid that had built up due to a 3.5 cm mass in the child’s brain.

A biopsy of the tumour was taken and now it is a question of waiting for the results.

But the experience has prompted the family to sound a “kind of public alert”, explains SIC.

Both parents believe that if their son had been given the attention he required at the outset, the tumour would have been detected much more quickly.

“From the very first day (January 2) when he went into hospital with those symptoms, more should have been done, and it wasn’t”, said Galvão.

The parents have since presented a formal complaint, and the hospital’s administrative board has opened an inquiry.

Carlos Galvão explained to SIC how the family’s first visit came on January 2. They returned on January 5 – at which point their son was prescribed glasses for his blurred vision, but these made no difference. A week later, by which time the boy’s condition was much worse – he had stopped eating and was sleeping night and day, said SIC – the mother and son made their third visit, in which Sra Galvão refused to accept the doctor’s diagnosis without a CAT scan.

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