‘I don’t think I can go on, mum:” Young father wrongly diagnosed with appendicitis awaits brain tumour result

By Peter McNamara

A father who was wrongly diagnosed with appendicitis, despite five separate visits to hospital, was found to have a highly aggressive kind of brain tumour and is “running out of time,” his family have said.

Joshua Warner, a 25-year-old carpenter of Woodfall Drive, Bexley, has today had a biopsy which will tell him what kind of brain tumour he may have. The results are expected in the coming weeks.

Joshua’s parents, who live in Sterling Road, Bexleyheath, are distraught and desperate for answers after being told for weeks that their son had appendicitis.

Joshua first noticed symptoms at the end of June when he began experiencing a severe headache and, after a couple of weeks, Joshua’s father, Dave, took him to Darent Valley Hospital in Kent on July 12.

While at the hospital, Joshua was told he had appendicitis, with the pain in his head a result of “referred pain” and his appendix was removed.

Two days later, Joshua was readmitted to Darent Valley where a CT scan detected an “anomaly” due to “an issue with the machine” and he was subsequently released.

Joshua then returned on August 4 with his partner, Tash. His family claim that after failing to recognise Joshua had been prescribed codeine, a doctor accused Joshua of using illegal drugs.

On a fourth visit to the hospital, Joshua’s mother, Eve Pateman, was told that A&E was meant only for people with life-threatening illnesses, and if he needed an MRI he would require a GP referral. 

Joshua’s GP told him he was overmedicated and that he should stop using painkillers and return in four weeks’ time.

But just eight days later, Joshua collapsed and was rushed to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, where he was told within 24 hours that he had a brain tumour. 

After being unable to work for two months “stress and worry about paying his bills and taking care of his four-year-old boy” really affected Joshua and, hoping to ease his concerns, his family set up a fundraising page

Eve said: “Josh is unbelievably funny, kind and selfless. We love him so much and are absolutely heartbroken to see him like this.

“He keeps saying ‘I don’t think I can go on, mum’ because he feels like no one’s fighting for him.

“The road ahead is not going to be an easy one, but we are encouraged by his determination and strength, and we refuse to give up hope.”

Charlie Allsebrook, community development manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “With one in three people affected by brain tumours, Joshua’s story is, sadly, not unique.  

“Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet just one per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease since records began in 2002.”

A spokesman for Darent Valley Hospital, which is managed by the Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust, said: “We are very sorry to learn of Mr Warner’s diagnosis and his experience while under the care of Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust.

“It is important to us that all patients receive the highest quality of care. We take all concerns very seriously, and so we are in the process of examining this case in greater detail.

“We have spoken to Mr Warner directly to gain a better understanding of his perspective, and we are fully committed to taking any and all necessary actions to address his concerns.”

Pictured top: Left, Joshua Warner with his son, Andrew. Right, Joshua Warner with his parents, David Warner and Eve Pateman, and brothers Andrew and Christian Warner (Pictures: Family handout)

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