DOCTORS accused a boy battling a rare autoimmune disease of exaggerating his symptoms to get out of school, his mum claims.
Maysen Bowen, 12, was suffering from agonising pain – but concerns were allegedly raised about whether he was faking it after blood tests failed to identify a clear health issue.
His mother Jessica Bye said she desperately urged medics to take him seriously, but he was discharged.
Minutes later, as the parent pushed her son in a wheelchair, Maysen's face "drooped".
He began slurring his speech and then the entire left side of his body was "paralysed", Jessica, from Melbourne, Australia, said.
They immediately returned to the hospital and an MRI scan subsequently revealed he had Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) – a serious condition that affects the nerves.
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The mum-of-six told MailOnline: "My heart dropped. It was just extremely gut wrenching.
"I didn't know if my son was going to be alive the next day."
The schoolboy is now receiving treatment at a different hospital.
"He is currently, for all purposes, paralysed, but can feel the pain throughout his whole body," Jessica said.
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GBS affects about two in every 100,000 people in the UK every year, according to government data.
The first signs of the condition are usually numbness, pins and needles, muscle weakness, pain and problems with balance and coordination.
Maysen displayed almost all of these symptoms from July 24 until his diagnosis on August 1.
But Jessica claims doctors repeatedly told her he was overstating them.
While she too initially believed he might be experiencing growing pains or aches from a 3km run, she realised it was something more serious when he was in so much pain he couldn't even chew his food and spent most nights in "absolute hysterics".
"Imagine being paralysed but feeling every single ounce of pain throughout your body and then being told that you're exaggerating," she said.
Once Maysen is strong enough, he will start a full rehabilitation programme to help him re-learn how to walk and talk and return to normal life.
His aunt Kaitlin has started a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs.
What is Guillain-Barré syndrome?
GUILLAIN-Barré syndrome is a very rare and serious condition that affects the nerves.
It mainly impacts the feet, hands and limbs, causing problems such as numbness, weakness and pain.
Most people will make a full recovery with treatment within six to 12 months, but it can be life-threatening and one in five sufferers will experience long-term problems.
The most common symptoms to begin with are:
- Pins and needles
- Muscle weakness
- Problems with balance and coordination
These symptoms may continue to get worse over the next few days or weeks before they start to slowly improve.
In severe cases, you may have difficulty moving, walking, breathing and/or swallowing.
The most common long-term issues include:
- Being unable to walk without assistance
- Weakness in the arms, legs or face
- Numbness, pain or a tingling or burning sensation
- Balance and coordination problems
- Extreme tiredness
Overall, one in 20 die from Guillain-Barré syndrome.
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