A LITTLE boy is currently undergoing gruelling treatment for a brain tumour after doctors dismissed his symptoms as “attention seeking.”
The parents of young Arthur Ridout, three, spent months begging doctors to take the little lad’s symptoms seriously.
Mum Lauren repeatedly took her son to the hospital after he kept complaining of dizzy spells, nausea and headaches and was outraged at their dismissal of his symptoms, she said.
It took two months of visits to their GP and various hospitals before Arthur was finally diagnosed with an aggressive medulloblastoma – the most common type of cancerous brain tumour in children.
With Arthur finally receiving treatment, his dad Simon Ridout, 39, is now fundraising for the Brain Tumour Research charity to help find a cure for the cancer.
Cattle farmer Simon, who lives in East Chelborough, Dorset with his wife Lauren, his son Arthur and his son Fred, five, said: “More awareness needs to be raised and I’m keen to do whatever I can to help.
“It’s been a life-changing few months for my family and it’s given me a new perspective on everything.
“Before Arthur’s diagnosis, I spent a lot of my life working and probably not enough time with my wife and children. I’m re-assessing everything now and family life will definitely be prioritised.”
Arthur’s symptoms first began to show at nursery in December 2021 where staff noticed he was unstable on his feet and needing more naps and ended up being sent home with sickness numerous times.
Concerned mum Lauren took her son to the GP after he repeatedly complained of dizzy spells and headaches but claims she was told to simply “keep an eye on him.”
He was referred to a paediatrician after a second visit to the GP but before he could be seen, he was rushed to A&E after falling ill in the park with Lauren on February 5.
Simon said: “Lauren went down a slide with him on her lap and when they got to the bottom, he was dizzy and wanted to lie down in the dirt.
“When they got to A&E, they saw a few different medics and one of them suggested that Arthur could have been attention-seeking, which made us really cross.”
Arthur retuned to the hospital two days later to see an optometrist and had a scan the following day where his parents were finally told what had been making their little boy ill.
The scan revealed Arthur’s symptoms had been caused by a brain tumour the size of a plum.
Simon said: “It was a huge shock. We did a lot of crying.
“They sent us in an ambulance up the M5 to Bristol Royal Hospital for Children.
“When we got there, we met a surgeon, who explained that Arthur’s tumour was causing hydrocephalus, a build-up of fluid resulting in pressure on the brain.”
The toddler endured five lumbar punctures in five weeks to confirm no spread of the cancer to his spine before undergoing emergency surgery to relieve the cranial pressure on February 8.
Two days later, the brave little boy was back in theatre for a 13-hour operation to remove the tumour.
Although the surgery was a success, he developed posterior fossa syndrome – a common occurrence with the removal of medullablastoma in children – and had to learn to eat, talk, move and walk again.
After a gruelling six week course of head and spine radiotherapy, brave Arthur can now move around using a walker and is starting to form sentences again.
However, the fight is far from over for the little lad who will soon start eight rounds of chemotherapy to prevent the tumour growing back.
Community development manager for Brain Tumour Research, Mel Tiley said: “Arthur’s story is a stark reminder of how indiscriminate brain tumours are, affecting anyone at any time.
“We wish Arthur the best of luck for the next stage of treatment and are thinking of him and his family at this time.”
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