A teenage soccer player was found to have a potentially deadly brain tumor after doctors misdiagnosed him as ‘long-term’ Covid.
Kane Allcock (15) suffered from persistent headaches after testing positive for coronavirus on New Year’s Eve 2021.
But despite being admitted to the emergency room, neurological tests apparently failed to detect any problems and medics mistakenly assumed he had migraines caused by prolonged Covid.
The teen was given codeine painkillers.
Kane Allcock (pictured after his surgery), 15, suffered from lingering headaches after testing positive for coronavirus on New Year’s Eve 2021
But despite being admitted to the emergency room, neurological tests apparently failed to detect any problems and doctors mistakenly assumed he had migraines caused by prolonged Covid
Later, Kane, who plays for Crewe Alexandra’s youth team, developed a severe headache, nausea and difficulty walking due to dizziness.
After being re-hospitalized, he had a seizure and was then sent for an MRI scan, which revealed he had acute hydrocephalus, a buildup of pressure on the brain caused by excess cerebrospinal fluid.
The scan also found a large tumor and Kane underwent seven and a half hours of surgery to remove the tumor and is now recovering. It turned out that the tumor was a low-grade or noncancerous pilocytic astrocytoma.
Kane’s mother Nicki, a medical secretary for mental health services for children and adolescents (CAMHS), from Crewe, said: ‘We had traveled to Blackpool the Thursday before Easter weekend as Kane was due to compete in a tournament with his Crewe FC teammates.
“When we got there, he was unwell and went straight to bed. The next day we took him to a nearby walk-in center. They did a full investigation and concluded that he may have had post-Covid vertigo and that he was being given codeine.”
Later, Kane, who plays for Crewe Alexandra’s youth team, developed a severe headache, nausea and difficulty walking due to dizziness. After being re-hospitalized, he had a seizure and was then sent for an MRI scan, which revealed he had acute hydrocephalus, a buildup of pressure on the brain caused by excess cerebrospinal fluid.
What is ‘Long Covid?’
On January 2, an estimated 1.33 million people in the UK had Covid for a long time.
Long Covid is an informal term used, according to the ONS, to describe persistent symptoms after a Covid infection that lasts for more than four weeks.
A dizzying array of symptoms has been attributed to long-term Covid, including:
- extreme tiredness (fatigue)
- shortness of breath
- chest pain or tightness
- problems with memory and concentration (‘brain fog’)
- trouble sleeping (insomnia)
- pins and needles
- joint pain
- depression and anxiety
- tinnitus, earache
- nausea, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite
- fever, cough, headache, sore throat, changes in sense of smell or taste
- skin rash
There is no cure for the condition, although the NHS recommends a number of treatments designed to relieve symptoms.
“But the next day Kane was feeling too bad to play football so we took him home and they went straight to the emergency room at Leighton Hospital in Crewe. I knew something wasn’t right. Kane held his head and rocked in pain. He couldn’t walk well. They did some blood work and gave him oxygen and IV pain relief.
‘The message I got was that he still just suffered from migraines. But when we were admitted to the research ward, I spoke to a nurse who seemed to take us more seriously and told her I’d noticed a dent in the back of Kane’s head. She picked up Kane and said we wouldn’t be home the next day at the earliest.’
The next day, Kane had a seizure and was sent to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool for an MRI scan of his brain, which revealed the tumor.
Mother of two Nicki from Crewe said: ‘We followed in the car and it was the longest 50 minutes of our lives. When we got there, we barely spent time with Kane before being asked to sign the consent forms for his surgery, and he was rushed to the theater for surgery to treat the hydrocephalus.
Just two days later, on April 19, he went back to the theater and luckily Kane’s wonderful surgeon managed to remove everything.
Kane was discharged just four days after surgery, but on April 25 he had a wound puncture, which meant he had to go back to Alder Hey, where he got a few extra stitches.
“The wound continued to leak and during a routine follow-up appointment on April 27, it was decided that Kane would have to have another surgery to re-suture the wound. It didn’t stop there, they also discovered that his hydrocephalus had flared up again and he had to have a spinal tap put in to fix it.
‘That meant lying flat for five days. The drain was removed on May 1, and Kane was allowed to go home the next day.’
Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board has been contacted for comment.