Most people visit the opticians with a view to having their eyesight checked. But for a Liverpool man the appointment led to a hospital admission later that day and a cancer diagnosis the following week.
Paul Rice explains, “I had been feeling unusually tired for a few days which was unlike me and I was also experiencing some light-headedness.” At a check-up the optometrist’s camera inspection of the retina revealed some haemorrhaging which he suspected could be linked with diabetes. He made an urgent referral to allow Paul to go to his GP straight away. The doctor ordered blood tests to be done and later that day the results emerged showing dangerously low levels of red and white blood cells as well as a severely diminished platelet count.
An urgent telephone call instructed Paul to go immediately to the Royal Liverpool University Hospital Medical Assessment Unit where he was given several pints of blood before being admitted on to a ward. One week later a bone marrow biopsy revealed that Paul was not suffering from diabetes. He was, in fact, diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer called MDS commonly associated with Leukemia. He was told he faced months in hospital and would be given intensive chemotherapy and other aggressive treatments designed to try to eradicate the cancerous cells in the bone marrow and restore his blood counts and overall health.
Paul underwent a year of gruelling therapy with and being self employed meant Paul lost several thousand pounds of pay whilst in hospital and his family and friends forked out hundreds of pounds in car parking, food and other items,” Funnily enough I had an application form for Medicash in my briefcase for a while and I had fully intended to join but never got round to it. If I had been a paid up member I could have claimed not only for the eye test but also over £2000 in inpatient benefit. The cost of being in hospital is high both emotionally and financially and having a cash plan definitely would have helped. I am a member now though."