Parents campaign in memory of baby Alfie

PUBLISHED: 11:49 06 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:01 06 May 2010

Baby Alfie

Baby Alfie

LITTLE Alfie Morland (pictured) was just five-and-a-half months old when he lost his life to an inoperable brain tumour diagnosed just a week before his death. Following the tragedy last June, his devastated parents, Lucy and Rob Morland from Redbourn, h

LITTLE Alfie Morland (pictured) was just five-and-a-half months old when he lost his life to an inoperable brain tumour diagnosed just a week before his death.

Following the tragedy last June, his devastated parents, Lucy and Rob Morland from Redbourn, have been actively trying to raise awareness about the illness in the hope of sparing other families the pain they have endured.

They made an official complaint against the various medics involved in Alfie's care as they feel his condition was not diagnosed soon enough and they are trying to instigate important changes so the same mistakes aren't repeated.

In the months running up to Alfie's death, Lucy had consulted numerous health professionals having become convinced that certain clinical signs indicated something was badly wrong with her baby son. But she felt that her concerns were not taken seriously and she was made to feel like an "anxious and paranoid" parent despite her medical background as a paediatric physiotherapist.

Lucy and Rob also felt there was a distinct lack of communication between physicians and they are angry that Alfie's health book was not written in by the professionals which would have recorded his deterioration.

It was around three months after Lucy's initial worries that Alfie fell critically ill and thereafter he was continually misdiagnosed with a stomach virus.

He was admitted to Great Ormond Street Hospital where doctors eventually discovered an inoperable brain tumour and Lucy and Rob were told the devastating news that their only child had just weeks to live. Alfie died seven days later.

The couple feel their intuition was ignored and they now want more emphasis given to listening to the parents, who ultimately know their child the best.

They said: "We feel that health professionals need to be more open-minded to the cause of the illness and not try to make certain signs and symptoms fit to an already-decided illness."

Lucy and Rob also feel there was an unacceptable level of suitably-qualified staff over the weekends in the various NHS trusts that we were involved, which they say added to a greater degree of suffering and pain for Alfie.

But with Brain Tumour Awareness Month in March, the couple also hope to raise funds in memory of Alfie, to make his short life even more worthwhile.

Lucy said: "Alfie was a beautiful little boy with a mop of dark hair, blue eyes and a happy disposition. He bought endless amounts of joy to all who met him."

The Alfie Jack Morland Fund was set up within weeks of his death under the umbrella of the Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust (SDBTT), which carries out extensive research and provides support to patients and families. In conjunction with the Big Lottery Fund, it has also funded an important award-winning project to decrease the time it takes for paediatric brain tumours to be diagnosed.

Lucy said: "The millions it has raised to date are absolutely vital as more children now die from brain tumours than any other cancer. Fewer than half of the 6,500 people diagnosed annually survive beyond five years. It takes three times longer to diagnose a paediatric brain tumour in the UK than anywhere else in the Western world."

Rob is due to cycle from Lands End to John O'Groats later in the year to raise funds and the couple will be collecting at a couple of London rugby matches.

For further information about Alfie and how to donate to the trust set up in his memory, visit www.alfiemorland.com or www.braintumourtrust.co.uk

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