“Devastated” parents are calling for justice after their four-year-old son died of a brain tumor that was “discovered too late by Northampton General Hospital”.
The parents of preschooler Akhona Moyo are calling for a full investigation into their son’s death following apologies from NGH and Delapre Medical Center.
Akhona, of Far Cotton, died on Friday (November 25) after a brain tumor was discovered during a CT scan at NGH the day before Thursday (November 24).
However, Akhona’s parents say they had been trying to get help for their son since August because he had been “vomiting terribly”, “beating his head” and “crying with his hands over his ears”.
They also contribute with the death of their child to a misdiagnosis of autism by health professionals.
Paying tribute to his son, Father Howard said: “My son was a lovely little boy. He loved to swim, jump on the trampoline, play on the slide. He loved to play. He was a lovely soul. Everyone loved AK. He had a lot of friends and he was always smiling. Butterfly Nursery loved AK. He loved the song Baby Shark, that was his favorite thing.”
In May 2021, Akhona was first diagnosed with autism despite the fact that her symptoms “conformed to a diagnosis of a tumor”.
Howard said: “We hope to be corrected, but based on our observations, we don’t believe Akhona was autistic. We then went on to treat autism and we all missed what the poor boy was going through due to the incorrect diagnosis.”
“His symptoms matched the diagnosis of a tumor, but they were overridden by the misdiagnosis of autism. Gradually he lost the ability to speak and his behavior changed. Almost certainly due to the growth of the tumor in his brain. His headaches They must have been serious, no wonder he was distraught.How many other children are at risk with such low diagnostic standards?
Akhona then became seriously ill with bouts of vomiting in August this year, prompting the family to seek help from NGH and Delapre Medical Center.
Despite multiple trips to the hospital and GP, “no proper treatment or investigations were given early on into the cause of the vomiting episodes,” Howard said. Instead, Akhona’s condition was treated like a stomach virus.
On Tuesday 22 November, Akhona’s health deteriorated rapidly and the family once again took him to NGH, where he was seen but sent home on omeprazole, a stomach medication.
The parents returned to NGH the next day (Wednesday 23rd November) and requested that Akhona be put on a drip as she was having difficulty eating and drinking and was subsequently losing strength and hydration. Her request was rejected.
The next day, Howard’s “life stopped.”
Howard said: “On Thursday morning (November 24) my wife called me at work saying she had called an ambulance because my son was out of breath and had passed out. When I got back the ambulance was here and my son was in the floor in the kitchen with oxygen to help him breathe. They brought him back in. They rushed to put a drip on him. That’s the last smile I got from my son.
“He started not responding, his health was getting worse. They tried antibiotics but they didn’t work, so they took him for a CT scan. That’s when my life stopped. That’s when everything changed. They told us he had a tumor on his head. They had to take him to a hospital in Nottingham and we followed the ambulance.
“The next morning they told me that they can’t do anything with my son, who has brain damage. I was the one who called them to check on my son and now they had the guts to tell me that everything was damaged. been forewarned. When he left NGH he was nearly dead.
“He had a very painful death. I’m upset and angry. When they told me he had a brain tumor, I started going through the behavioral symptoms and that’s exactly what my son used to do: throw up, hit his head. I think that thing was putting pressure [on his skull]. Why did they keep sending us back home saying it was a mistake? I need justice. My son should not have died.”
Complaint filed against NGH
Since then, the family filed an official complaint against NGH.
Her complaint letter reads: “Akhona deserved better support, empathy and care from all of you. Our concerns and requests for help were usually dismissed as over-anxious parents and the result is that we have lost our beloved son. What hurts the most is that not only did he lose a son, we had to watch him through all his struggles, only now do we realize that Akhona was in excruciating pain every day and all we did was give him Calpol due to failed medical investigations.”
Parents also ask for brain scans to be done before any autism diagnosis.
Northampton General Hospital Chief Executive Heidi Smoult said: “We offer our deepest condolences to Mr Moyo and his family on the tragic loss of Akhona. We are aware that Mr. Moyo has concerns about Akhona’s care, we can assure his family that we will discuss these concerns openly and transparently and engage them in this.”
A spokeswoman for Eleanor Cross Healthcare of Delapre Medical Center added: “We would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family and our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.
“A multi-agency review of the issues raised by the family has begun. With formal investigations ongoing, it would not be appropriate to comment further at this time.”