A woman says she almost died after a doctor misdiagnosed her with tonsillitis when she actually had a life-threatening blood disease.
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Annie Lovegrove, from Ipswich, was rushed to A&E with a high fever the day after she went to her GP with painful mouth ulcers.
The 21-year-old found out in hospital that she had aplastic anaemia, a rare blood disease that only two people in every million are diagnosed with each year.
Annie has undergone 50 blood transfusions, a bone marrow transplant and chemotherapy since the shocking diagnosis.
She said: “I had a mouth ulcer form in the middle of January, along with unexplained bruises on my body.
“After a week of using over the counter medication and saltwater, my mum told me to go to the doctor as there was no improvement. If anything, it was getting worse.”
Annie said she went to the doctor and was prescribed antibiotics, however she went back a week later suffering from a high temperature.
Her GP then diagnosed her with tonsilitis as they spotted sores on her tonsils.
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She said: “The doctor told my mum that if it wasn’t any better in a couple of days, she should call 111.
“However, the next day my temperature was getting worse and my pulse was sporadic. Thankfully, my mum called an ambulance right away because she knew there was something seriously wrong.
“If we didn’t go to A&E when we did, doctors said I wouldn’t have survived the next day.”
Annie was then rushed to hospital, where doctors discovered serious problems with her blood work.
She had to have three pints of blood and platelets transfused within 24 hours – and underwent further transfusions over the next two weeks, which she credits with saving her life.
Annie added: “I was in and out of sleep continuously because I was so weak.
“I was in isolation as I was neutropenic, and I couldn’t risk getting infections since everything was a risk to me.”
Her family was initially told she could have leukaemia, however a bone marrow biopsy showed it was aplastic anaemia.
She had to endure chemotherapy – to reset her immune system – before undergoing a bone marrow transplant in May.
The marrow was donated by her 17-year-old sister Millie – and Annie will have tests throughout the year to check if her body has accepted the transplant.
Annie said: “Since my diagnosis, I haven’t been able to see many people other than my immediate family because the risk from catching a common cold could be fatal. I’m hoping that once my blood levels improve, I’ll be able to start leading a normal life again.”
The disease has derailed Annie’s life, which has recently been marked by hospital trips every time her temperature rises above 37.5C.
She also tires far quicker than she used to and is paranoid about catching an infection through germs, which has made her cautious about food and drink.