A mum whose little boy died after delays in diagnosing his cancer has urged parents to ‘trust their instincts’ and speak up if they believe doctors are wrong.
Four-year-old Mackenzie Cackett battled brain and spinal tumours before losing his brave fight for life in May 2012.
The trusts responsible for Colchester Hospital and Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge, where he was treated, have now admitted the original tumour should have been spotted earlier.
Parents Danielle, 32, and James, 36, from Halstead in Essex, say they believe it may have saved their son.
Mackenzie, who won the heart of the Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Catherine, when she visited East Anglia Children’s Hospice, first started to complain of a ‘sore head’ and sickness in August 2010. But the couple say they were repeatedly told there was nothing to worry about for six months until an MRI scan revealed the devastating truth.
The youngster underwent surgery and specialist therapy to remove a ‘tangerine-sized’ tumour and a scan of his brain shortly afterwards showed that it had gone.
Had doctors also scanned his neck as well, or a few weeks later when he began to feel unwell again, the family believe they may have noticed a second tumour on his spine.
But by the time it was discovered, several months later, it was too late to do anything for Mackenzie.
He was moved to East Anglian Children’s Hospice where he died on May 28, 2012.
The couple were represented by law firm Slater and Gordon in a civil action against Colchester and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trusts, which recently settled for a five-figure sum.
Danielle, who is also mum to 16-month-old April, said: “In our minds we will always think ‘what if?’ It’s hard not to be angry.
“He wasn’t given the best fighting chance and that’s something we have to live with.
“There’s a lot to be said for a parent’s instinct. I think we knew deep down that something was wrong, but we trusted the doctors.
“The hospitals did say sorry, but it’s always seemed a bit feeble and that’s why we decided to take legal action.
“Nothing is going to bring Mackenzie back, but it’s important to us that lessons are learned so nothing like this can happen to anyone else.”
Karen Cathcart, a clinical negligence specialist from law firm Slater and Gordon, added: “Danielle and James have faced a long battle to get justice for Mackenzie and they are relieved it is finally at an end.
“No amount of money can ever make up for what this family has been through, but I hope this brings them some closure and they can now try and move forward with the rest of their lives.”