The parents of a baby girl who might only have weeks to live have told how an un-usual eye movement turned out to be a brain tumour.
Jessica Gibson’s mum and dad are now calling for children with similar symptoms to be fast-tracked for an MRI scan after she was initially given a four-month wait.
In July she was diagnosed with pilocytic astrocytoma – a tumour of the brain and spinal cord – when only four months old.
Jessica has endured five operations, three types of chemotherapy and spent lengthy spells in hospital.
On November 10 doctors decided she was too weak for any more surgery or chemotherapy and was sent home from hospital in an ambulance for palliative care.
It was then the family, who live in East Kilbride, Lanarkshire, were told she may only have weeks to live.
Mum Gillian Allum, 36, and dad Andrew Gibson, 49, first became concerned when Jessica’s right eye began moving rapidly from side to side.
An initial GP referral to the hospital led to a three or four-month wait for an MRI scan but soon after Jessica’s weight started to drop and she was admitted to Wishaw General Hospital in Lanarkshire on July 29.
Following an emergency MRI scan at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow, her parents were told there was a large mass in Jessica’s brain and smaller tumours in her spine.
She then went through three major operations in the space of a week and also began chemotherapy.
Andrew, who is an operations manager, said Jessica would be dead now if they had waited four months for an MRI scan.
He would like to see the NHS prioritise children showing signs of brain tumours.
He added: “The MRI scans really need to take place within days rather than months.”
Gillian, a business development manager, said: “We need to do more for children who present symptoms like Jessica’s and get their treatment fast-tracked. If the worst-case scenario happens to our daughter, I want to make sure no other family go through this.”
Jessica’s parents are doing everything they can to get her better, including the use of approved herbal remedies and treatments.
They are also speaking with a private consultant in Thailand who specialises in natural medicine.
A Just Giving site has been set up to raise £50,000 to support the family and pay for any possible future private procedures.
One possibility is cell therapy treatment in a private London clinic, which could cost between £8000 and £25,000.
Anyone wishing to donate can do so at justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ron-mcclure-1