Gary and Alicia Armstrong with their son Toby.
Gary and Alicia Armstrong with their son Toby.

'Screaming': Heartache as Gladstone mum hears boy's diagnosis

FOR six days 10-year-old Toby Armstrong had been vomiting but one day out from his tenth birthday he started to vomit up blood.

Toby's mum and dad Alicia and Gary thought he might have had gastro but as his condition worsened on November 27 they wanted to take him to see a doctor.

But because it was a Sunday their doctor wasn't available.

Thinking quickly though, Mrs Armstrong remembered seeing an ad on TV about the House Call Doctor, which is a service offered in Gladstone for afterhours medical care.

"House Call Doctor saved my child's life," Mrs Armstrong said.

"They came out straight away (and) had a good look at him and recommended we go to the hospital.

"It took about an hour to get the blood tests done and then two doctors and one of the nursing staff walked in and I knew something was up."

Hours out from his birthday Toby was diagnosed with first-stage Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia and will need to take chemotherapy pills for possibly the next three years.

Toby said he was feeling better now but suffered from excruciating pain in his legs was undergoing weekly blood tests.

"You have your moments and take one day at a time (but) when he's…screaming in pain you feel completely useless," Mr Armstrong said.

"Without Dr (Qaisar) Bashir's advice the leukaemia might have gone unnoticed for weeks or even months…Even though it's bad timing ahead of Christmas, I cannot thank Dr Bashir enough for his care," Mrs Armstrong said.

The Armstrong family with House Call Doctors Kurt De Silva and Salman Amjad.
The Armstrong family with House Call Doctors Kurt De Silva and Salman Amjad.

Under the Medical Benefits Scheme Review the Federal Government may cut funding for services like the House Call Doctor, which Gladstone House Call Doctor manager Kurt De Silva said could force patients to pay a "gap fee" for afterhours care.

"More than likely some people would not (be able to) access the care they need," he said.

But in effort to brighten Toby's Christmas, Mr De Silva and House Call Doctor Salman Amjad gifted the Armstrongs a Christmas hamper and a brand new iPad for Toby, which brought a smile to his face.

Local businesses have also come to help the Armstrong family over Christmas, with groceries and other items being donated by Woolworths in the Valley Shopping Centre.

"I've spent most of my life in the country where the nearest GP clinic might be an hour drive away…having a doctor actually visit your home is so important for families," Mrs Armstrong said.
 



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