A three-year-old girl died of sepsis after being turned away from hospital with a “stomach defect”.
Harper Aitken’s mother, Lori Mullen, doesn’t want other parents to go through the same thing and encourages others to “follow your gut instincts” with sick children and report sepsis to doctors if they see a rash.
The 36-year-old said medics at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Scotland did not consult a pediatrician before sending little Harper home.
Today, on World Sepsis Awareness Day, Lori wants to share her story in order to raise awareness Daily record report.
Sepsis kills around 50,000 people each year in the UK and claims more lives than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined worldwide.
Lori from Bo’ness near Falkirk said: “Harper was a little whirlwind. She loved dancing and music and was a real girl, but she also loved playing outside and getting dirty, really dirty. “
But in 2019, Lori lost her daughter after a doctor failed to discover the signs of sepsis.
Harper told Lori that she felt sick on March 6, but later that day she appeared to be fine.
But the next day she felt worse and Lori saw a rash on her stomach that had failed the glass test.
Lori said, “I called an ambulance. When she arrived, her temperature was 41.5. She was observed in the hospital for a while, but she felt a little better. “
The doctor asked for a urine sample, but when Lori collected it, Harper disposed of and the doctor said it was contaminated.
Lori said, “I asked her to look at it, but she declined and said she would just ditch it as a belly bug.
“The rash was gone and her temperature was dropping so I was told to take her home. During the night she hallucinated and her temperature rose again. “
“The next morning she was awake, but she kept going to the bathroom with diarrhea.
“In the afternoon my mother noticed a blue dot on her hand. I picked up her top and found the rash on her back really bad. Her lips began to turn blue. “
Lori took Harper to her family doctor who called an ambulance. Lori said, “I heard him say, ‘She looks septic’.” Harper was rushed to the hospital at 3:50 p.m. with flashing lights on.
Lori added, “She turned black from the sepsis. She tried to take off her oxygen mask and said, ‘Mom, I don’t like this, I want to go home to Cayden (her brother). I told her to put her mask back on and that was the last thing she ever said. “
She was pronounced dead on March 8th at 6:50 p.m.
Her sepsis had started with a simple sore throat known as Strep A. Lori added, “I asked the first doctor if she had anything life threatening. She said: ‘No, no’, but the next day she wasn’t here anymore. “
Prosecutors informed Lori that changes were made to the procedure after Harper’s death.
But Lori said, “I’ve never seen evidence of this. The hospital never told me what they did. “
And she urged other parents: “Trust your gut feeling. I wish I had said the word ‘sepsis’. “
An NHS Forth Valley spokeswoman said: “Following a detailed internal review, a number of changes and improvements have been made. This included additional clinical education and training under the guidance of an experienced pediatrician.
“We have met with family on several occasions and shared the results of the review. However, we will ensure that you are kept informed of the work that has been carried out. “
Colin Graham, Chief Operating Officer at Sepsis Research FEAT, said the biological processes that cause sepsis are still not understood and more research is needed.
“Many people still don’t realize how serious sepsis is,” he says.
“It is therefore important to raise awareness of this deadly condition so that more people can see the signs.
“Sepsis can be mistaken for flu because the symptoms are sometimes similar, but the difference is that these symptoms get worse quickly when sepsis is the cause. The most important thing is to react quickly and to consult a doctor urgently, as this can improve the chances of survival. “
For more information on sepsis, see sepsisresearch.org.
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