Three-year-old boy died from a incurable brain cancer after doctors initally misdiagnosed him with a sprained ankle
Logan Maclean's family has started an online petition for more research and funding for diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), a deadly form of brain cancer that has a zero percent survival rate.
AYRSHIRE, SCOTLAND: A three-year-old boy from Scotland died from a fatal brain tumor after being misdiagnosed as having a sprained ankle. According to the Daily Mail, Logan Maclean, who died just weeks after his third birthday, first prompted concern when he developed a limp in his right leg, but a doctor from his hometown of Largs, North Ayrshire dismissed fears of anything more serious than a sore ankle.
The toddler was taken to A&E at Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire after he started losing strength in his arm. CT and MRI scans revealed that the child actually had diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), a deadly form of brain cancer that has a zero percent survival rate.
His heartbroken grandmother, 49-year-old Fiona Govan, said: “We took him to a practice in Largs, where the doctor thought he had sprained his ankle, because he was walking awkwardly. But on his third visit to A&E they noticed weakness in his arm, which then led them to believe it was a neurological problem. They thought he'd had a mini-stroke. At Crosshouse Hospital they did an MRI then he was referred to the Royal Hospital for Sick Kids in Glasgow and he got put on steroids. They started to think it was DIPG, but they wanted a biopsy to be certain so they could give him the right palliative treatment.”
The youngster reportedly underwent six weeks of radiotherapy from late 2016 to early February 2017, but doctors gave him just months to live. Outreach nurses supported Govan and Logan's mother, 29-year-old Sapphire Maclean, while some of her closest friends rallied round to help in the child's final months.
Logan passed away at his home on October 17, 2017, just weeks after his third birthday. He is survived by his two-year-old brother Ezra who was only seven-weeks-old when Logan was first diagnosed.
“Our condolences and thoughts are with Logan Maclean's family,” said Joanne Edwards, director of Acute Services for NHS Ayrshire and Arran. “We would encourage the family to contact us directly with any concerns about the care or treatment provided to their relative.”
Govan, who is a civil servant from Dalry, North Ayrshire, said: “We were like most families, we'd never even heard of it before. A child who developed a limp was now terminal. We had to come to terms with it that he didn't have long and my daughter concentrated on making sure he did. We went on a make a wish trip to Croatia and two trips to Calums Cabin in Rothesay. There's nothing you can do, you just need to try your best and make your memories. Ezra was too young to have memories of his brother, but we've got pictures of him he can look at and we hope one day he might do something in Logan's memory.”
“Logan was just amazing. He was such a gentle wee soul,” the child’s grandmother said. “His brother's feisty, but he was gentler. It was a privilege to know him and stand with him.”
Now the family is trying to raise awareness of the debilitating condition, which affects 30 to 40 children every year in the UK. DIPG is a tumor located in the middle region - or 'pons' - of the brain stem. It is the second most common severe brain tumor seen in children.
Govan has started an online petition for more research and funding into the disease. The petition has already gained more than 40,000 signatures.
She said: “Logan was a joy and shouldn't have died. I'm sad. I wish it wasn't him or any other child, but I'm angry about the lack of research that's been done. It goes wider than DIPG. Even with other children's cancers so many other kids are left to suffer and there needs to be a lot more focus on tackling child cancers generally.”
The 49-year-old is looking to get 100,000 signatures for the petition so that she can get the issue debated in parliament.
“If there's a way to get it to 100,000, I'm going to go all out and try anything to get the message out there,” the grandmother of two added. “I do genuinely believe there are other families and MPs who won't accept a rubbish answer and we'll demand a better response from the government. I'm not going to stop.”