“Twenty doctors thought my baby”s cancer was just a birthmark”: Mother”s fury after girl”s tumour grew to the size of a grapefruitYvonne Bull, 32, claims medics told her not to worry when daughter Isabel was born with purple mark on her faceBut the growth trebled in size within a month and tests later showed it was a rare sarcoma tumourIsabel lost her left ear in operation to remove the tumour
Family, from Sturminster Marshall, Dorset, considering legal action while four-month-old Isabel undergoes chemotherapy
A mother has revealed how 20 doctors dismissed her baby daughter’s rare cancer as a birthmark – until it grew to the size of a grapefruit.
Yvonne Bull, 32, claims she was told there was “nothing to worry about” when her baby Isabel was born with a purple mark on the left-hand side of her face.
But now the little girl is undergoing chemotherapy after the mark, which was found to be a tumour, trebled in size within a month and covered her left ear.
Isabel, who is four months old, is recovering after she lost her ear when medics carried out an operation to remove the growth.
Isabel, pictured with parents Anthony Roch and Yvonne Bull, needed to have her left ear removed but doctors believed the problem was merely a birthmark
Ms Bull, a nurse from Sturminster Marshall, Dorset, said medics told her that the purple mark, which was originally the size of a golf ball, was simply a “strawberry” birthmark.
As the mark began to grow and bleed, she repeatedly took Isabel back to hospital but she said doctors prescribed only a medication to shrink birthmarks.
After a series of visits, Isabel was eventually referred to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where tests found she was suffering from an extremely rare sarcoma tumour.
Further results showed the aggressive cancer had spread to her bone marrow, which meant she had to undergo chemotherapy.
Ms Bull, a mother of four, said Isabel faced an uncertain future as the cancer could return.
“When she was born they (doctors and nurses) brought the baby over and said “she has a small lump”,” Ms Bull said.
Yvone Bull (left) said her daughter Isabel”s tumour (right) trebled in size within a month, but doctors only prescribed medication for birthmarks
“I thought “that”s not a small lump, it is massive”. I was crying, I had never seen anything like it before. It was just ginormous.
“It was supposed to be a happy day but it wasn’t at all.
“They tried to reassure us and said it was a strawberry birthmark but it just did not look right.
“We must have seen 20 doctors and they never questioned the original diagnosis, they just all said “it’s a birthmark” and told us not to worry.”
Ms Bull, who lives with partner Anthony Roch, 37, a recruitment consultant, had a 4D scan at 34 weeks into her pregnancy – which showed no abnormalities.
Isabel was born by planned Caesarean on March 1 at Poole Hospital in Dorset and weighed a healthy 7lb 1oz.
She was taken for an ultrasound examination an hour after birth, and doctors concluded the mark was only a birthmark.
Isabel”s mark ruptured when parents Anthony Roch (left) and Yvonne Bull (right) gave her a bath
But Ms Bull insisted on further investigation and Isabel underwent an MRI scan at Southampton Hospital on March 6.
She said: “The doctor was really nonchalant and said “I bet on my life that it is a birthmark, I don’t want to see you for a year”.
“We had to chase the results for about two to three weeks. Luckily, another doctor at the hospital saw them and we were referred to Great Ormond Street for a review.”
But as the family waited for their April 19 appointment in London, Isabel’s mark began to grow and trebled in size.
They returned to Poole Hospital on April 5 and stayed for four days. Doctors remained insistent that the tumour was a birthmark and prescribed propanolol to shrink it.
Yvonne Bull is considering legal action over her baby daughter”s care
But the mark began to blister and, on April 16, it ruptured while Ms Bull and Mr Roch were giving Isabel a bath.
They returned to Poole Hospital and demanded that Isabel stay in for observation for the next three days until her appointment.
On April 19 Isabel was taken by ambulance to Great Ormond Street Hospital, where an ear, nose and throat consultant ordered a biopsy.
The biopsy was performed a day later. On April 24, Isabel”s parents were given the devastating news that she had cancer and it had spread to her bone marrow.
The baby underwent a six-hour operation to remove the cancerous cells on April 29 and she began chemotherapy on May 1.
Ms Bull, who is considering legal action, said Isabel had lost an ear and had a large scar on her face.
Doctors have also warned the family that the girl may suffer from speech and language difficulties in the future.
But Ms Bull said: “To consider what she has gone through in such a short space of time, she is amazing, absolutely amazing.
“She is an absolute pleasure to be around.”Isabel”s parents have seen a solicitor and are planning to take legal advice against the hospital.
A spokesman for Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are very concerned to hear the family is unhappy with the care their daughter received, and would urge them to contact us directly so we can discuss these fully and answer any questions they may have.
“We have a duty to protect our patients’ confidentiality and it would not be appropriate for us to comment further.”
A spokeswoman for University Hospitals Southampton NHS Foundation Trust declined to comment.