'Always keep an open mind': Paramedic Claire helps discover patient's bone cancer

When Tracey Goodacre first met paramedic Claire Squires, she was at her lowest ebb.

After weeks of experiencing severe pain, weakness and confusion without a diagnosis, the 50-year-old was against being admitted to hospital.

However, after listening to her concerns and gaining her trust, Claire was able to convince Tracey that she needed to be taken back to A&E last May, which led to doctors finding the source of her pain – bone cancer.

The pair were reunited this week (3rd August) where Tracey thanked the senior paramedic who gave her the faith to fight on.

The mother-of-two from Eye, near Peterborough, had been suffering from headaches and back pain since March 2014, but doctors had been unable to find out what was wrong with her.

"Claire was the only one that listened"

When Claire rushed to her home in a rapid response vehicle on 15th May 2014, Tracey was reluctant to go back to A&E after spending a week in hospital with no diagnosis. 

Tracey said: “I had a lot of paramedics coming out to me before this, but every time I got to A&E I was sent home.

“Claire was the only one that listened and got me sorted out. It was such a relief when I got a diagnosis, even though it was so late finding it.”

An MRI scan at Peterborough City Hospital revealed Tracey had bone cancer.

Thankfully, surgeons got into action very quickly and on 17th May, they removed the tumour from her spine at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. Since her diagnosis, she has had chemotherapy, radiotherapy and stem cell therapy.

Tracey added: “I probably would not be here now if I had not gone to hospital. The cancer is treatable, but not curable. If I get another three or five years it is better than not being here at all. I am so grateful for that. I’m here and that is the main thing and it is important to say thank you.”

Claire, who has worked for the Trust for eight years and is based at Peterborough station, said it was lovely to meet Tracey again.

“Tracey's story reminds us paramedics to always keep an open mind with our treatment and working diagnosis as we need to remember that not everyone will present as a text book case. Most of all we must always listen to our patients and their families,” she said.

Pictured: Claire (left), and Tracey, met in May this year after Tracey called 999.

Published 6th August, 2015

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