Teenager suffering from brain tumour ‘misdiagnosed’ with long Covid by medics

·2-min read
Kane Allcock - Ronald McDonald House Charities UK / SWNS
Kane Allcock - Ronald McDonald House Charities UK / SWNS

A teenager suffering from a brain tumour was misdiagnosed with long Covid, his family have said.

Kane Allcock, 15, had been suffering from persistent headaches after testing positive for coronavirus in December.

But despite being admitted to A&E, medics mistakenly assumed he had migraines likely caused by long Covid, according to his mother.

The Office for National Statistics estimates 1.5 million people in the UK have long Covid.

According to guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, long Covid refers to patients who have been experiencing symptoms for more than 12 weeks which cannot be explained by another cause.

The teenager, from Crewe, Cheshire, was given codeine and told he was experiencing “post-Covid vertigo”.

Kane was readmitted to hospital after suffering a seizure - Ronald McDonald House Charities UK / SWNS
Kane was readmitted to hospital after suffering a seizure - Ronald McDonald House Charities UK / SWNS

However, the teenager began to suffer more severe headaches, was nauseous and struggled to walk, due to dizziness. He suffered a seizure and was readmitted to hospital.

An MRI scan revealed had acute hydrocephalus, a build-up of pressure on the brain caused by excess fluid.

The scan also found a large tumour and he underwent a 7.5-hour operation to remove it. The tumour was a low-grade or non-cancerous pilocytic astrocytoma.

Kane's mother Nicki Allcock, a medical secretary for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), said they took him to a walk-in centre on the Easter Bank Holiday weekend in Blackpool, after he felt too unwell to take part in a football tournament.

“They did a full examination and concluded that he may have been suffering from post-Covid vertigo and he was given codeine,” she said.

The next day, the teenager was still feeling unwell so they took him home and went to A&E.

"I knew something wasn't right," she said. "Kane was holding his head and rocking in agony. He couldn't walk properly. They did some blood tests and put him on oxygen and IV pain relief.”

Mrs Allcock said they were told he was “just suffering from migraines. But one nurse “seemed to take us more seriously” and admitted Kane.

A large, non-cancerous tumour was found in Kane's brain, and he underwent a 7.5-hour operation - Cavendish Press (Manchester) Ltd
A large, non-cancerous tumour was found in Kane's brain, and he underwent a 7.5-hour operation - Cavendish Press (Manchester) Ltd

Once the build-up of fluid on the brain was identified, he underwent emergency surgery in Liverpool.

During Kane's hospital stays, his parents were accommodated at Ronald McDonald House Alder Hey.

Philippa Bradbury, Regional Community Fundraiser at Ronald McDonald House Charities UK, said: "We were so sorry to hear all that Kane and his family have been through but pleased that he's recovering well and that his prognosis is good.”

Research published this week from academics at King’s College London, using ZOE Covid tracker app data, found there are three different types of long Covid and each has its own symptoms.

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