Wed, Nov 27th, 2013

‘We couldn’t understand why we’d been taken to the cancer ward’: Parents’ heartbreak as two-year-old daughter’s ‘cold’ turns out to be leukaemia

  • Jessica Holmes was taken to A&E when her cold failed to improve
  • She was given antibiotics for a chest infection and was sent home
  • Her parents took her back to the hospital when her condition deteriorated
  • After blood tests she was transferred from Royal Lancaster Infirmary to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital where she was taken to a cancer ward
  • Her parents say they were introduced to a Macmillan nurse before they had been told Jessica had leukaemia

A couple have told of their shock after their two-year-old daughter, who they thought just had a cold, was diagnosed with leukaemia.

Mandy and Bob Holmes became concerned when Jessica developed a cold which showed no sign of improving after a few days.

Mr Holmes, 43, took her to Royal Lancaster Infirmary’s A&E on September 29 to get checked over and was sent home with antibiotics for a chest infection.

However, three days later, Jessica still showed no improvement – and deteriorated to a point where she was not eating or drinking and was sleeping 23 hours a day – so she was taken back to hospital.

Doctors carried out chest X-rays and told the family Jessica had pneumonia.

But, after getting the results of blood tests, on October 3 doctors gave Jessica a blood transfusion and rushed her to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

Mrs Holmes, 40, said: ‘At this point, we had no idea what was wrong – at worst I thought it would be asthma or diabetes.

‘They put us on a ward where there were all these children with no hair and I thought it was just while they were waiting to put us on a different ward.

‘Then a Macmillan nurse came and introduced herself to us but I could not understand why we needed a Macmillan nurse.’

A consultant arrived shortly after and asked Mr and Mrs Holmes to come for a private chat in his office.

They were told Jessica has acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, a cancer of the white blood cells.

Mrs Holmes said: ‘It was just awful. It was even more upsetting than when my father died – and that’s saying something.

‘But I was so overwhelmed by the shock it felt like I had been switched off – I went completely numb and nothing was registering.

‘The doctor was going on-and-on and I couldn’t hear a single word he was saying.

read more: www.dailymail.co.uk

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