Alexander Josephs Wiki
Alexander Josephs Biography
Who is Alexander Josephs?
Eight-year-old Alexander Josephs from Birmingham had to wait six months from his first seizure to surgery, due to a clerical error and cancellations caused by the pandemic.
Alexander underwent ten-hour surgery to remove the tumor in March 2021, but it grew back just a few weeks later.
When the ambulance arrived, Alexander was still suffering and was rushed to A&E near the family’s home in Plumstead, where he was admitted.
On his arrival at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, doctors thought it was something “unique”, but after seeing a pediatrician, Alexander was sent for a routine MRI and electroencephalogram (EEG). As a precautionary measure.
However, with the pressure of the pandemic mounting, the boy’s brain scan was not performed until two months later, in mid-November.
After waiting a month for the scan results to come back, Rhonda began to worry.
She said: ‘In the middle of December, I was thinking, ‘where are the results?’ She didn’t know how long it would take, so I thought no news should be good news.
“I thought I was going to be fine and that they would contact me if there was any problem.”
Just a few days before Christmas, Alexander had another seizure and lost movement on one side of his body.
Rhonda took her son back to Princess Royal University Hospital A&E in Bromley, where she explained that she had previously had a seizure and that she was awaiting the results.
She said: “I took him to a Kings partner hospital and they said they could look up his [outstanding] results, so the A&E doctor went to get them and then he came into the room and said, ‘Oh yeah, we know. that is, he has a brain tumor.
He told me that in front of Alex, who had just turned seven.
“He said he was fine and on the report he looked like a slow growing tumor and he told me he was fine and told me to go home and call back tomorrow.
Despite having had an MRI scan in September
Despite having an MRI in September after her first seizure, a clerical error meant the results, which indicated a tumor, were not addressed until three months later.
After an agonizing effort trying to get through to the hospital, Rhonda managed to get in touch with the pediatrician they originally saw at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, who told them to go directly and that Alexander was scanned the next day.
The consulting pediatrician apologized to the mother of two and allegedly admitted to the clerical error that resulted in the scans not being flagged.
Rhonda said: “He told me ‘we’re really sorry, but for some reason the MRI didn’t flag in the system as having a tumor, so it’s just been sitting there.'”
After finally being treated, Alexander’s case was transferred to the neurology department where Rhonda and her husband Jermaine, 45, had a meeting with the doctors caring for her son.
Despite being told that Alexander would have to wait for treatment, the couple decided to do their own research and discovered that this type of tumor was not only rare in children, but that there were two types.
She said: ‘There’s a slow-growing benign one that normally goes undetected until people are 50 and there’s a cancerous version that grows much faster, but my maternal instincts kicked in and I knew it was cancer. ‘
Instead of being a “slow-growing” tumor, it was actually a “very aggressive, high-grade glioma tumor” and in just eight weeks, the cancer had spread to her spine.
Rhonda said: “I begged the surgeons to do the surgery, but they convinced me to put myself on a ‘wait and see’ list, which is her protocol, but I think that needs to change.”
“The main thing they told me in that meeting was that he [the surgeon] could get to it [the tumor] and remove it and I was very relieved, but they told me to wait and see what he did.
Finally, in March, Alexander had ten-hour brain surgery to remove
Finally, in March, Alexander underwent ten-hour brain surgery to remove the aggressive tumor and, according to his mother, he recovered “surprisingly well” and even started going to school to see his friends.
However, within weeks of undergoing surgery, the family received the dreaded news that the tumor had already grown back.
Rhonda said: “Alexander not only had to endure painful spinal surgery, but as soon as his little body could handle it, two weeks later, he had to undergo another brain surgery.” He had to go through it all again.
After enduring the surgeries, Alexander began an intensive six-week course of radiation therapy to try to destroy what remained of the tumor in his spine and brain.
Alexander then began a course of experimental chemotherapy, which was suggested to the family by a doctor in the US who saw his online fundraising application.
Rhonda explained, “Since we started that GoFundMe page for Alexander, we’ve taken some advice from a doctor in America who supported our decision to go ahead and do the immunotherapy treatments.
She said that we should try to do everything because the Alexander mutations are particularly aggressive.
“He also told us about the inhibitor chemotherapy treatment, Dabrafenib, which Alexander is taking now because it is also a trial drug being given to adults with skin or lung cancer.
“But because they’re seeing the same mutation more and more in children’s brain tumors, Alexander is the first child in the UK to get that drug after radiotherapy and I think they only offered it to us because they knew we had the fundraising money
“This is all thanks to the Royal Marsden cancer hospital who have gone to great lengths to put us into a payment arrangement, where the NHS provides the monitoring scans and we only pay for the medicine.”
Although Royal Marsden is hopeful about Alexander’s outcome, there is still only a 20 per cent chance he will survive, but the family is hopeful that their fundraising efforts could help them access more pioneering treatments in the future.