Mother saves own son’s life after reading up on sepsis

A mother who read about the warning signs of the ‘silent killer disease’, sepsis, saved her own son’s life it has emerged.

Jenny Taft, 28, was profoundly affected by the case of William Mead, a 12-month-old who died of sepsis in December 2014, after a catalogue of errors, misdiagnoses and missed opportunities by doctors and NHS helpline staff.

So when her own son Freddie became ill just three months later she recognised the signs of sepsis.

Initially Freddie’s GP was puzzled by the two-year-old’s symptoms, but Mrs Taft mentioned that he could be suffering with sepsis.

The GP agreed and Freddie rushed to Walsall Manor Hospital, where he was quickly treated with antibiotics.

Mrs Taft, an accountant from Walsall said: “When Freddie became ill it seemed so similar. He went downhill really quickly, he was listless, and he had this purple rash.

“I asked the GP, “Could it be sepsis?” She said take him straight to hospital.

“The doctors said that if I hadn’t brought Freddie into the paediatric intensive care unit that day he would not have been here.”

William Mead died after NHS 111 staff working from a script, missed the chance to save the seriously ill infant. He died the day after a helpline operator, with no medical training, advised his mother to give him plenty of fluids, Ibuprofen and Calpol.

William had developed an abscess in his left lung caused by the bacterial infection streptococcus A, and if NHS 111 had advised that he should be admitted immediately to hospital, he could still be alive today.

An estimated 37,000 lives in England are lost each year to sepsis.

Symptoms of Sepsis

Call 999, or go to A&E immediately if the child has any of the following:

– Looks mottled, bluish or pale
– Is breathing very fast
– Has a rash that doesn’t fade when you press it
– Feels abnormally cold to touch
– Is very lethargic or difficult to wake
– Has a fit or convulsion

Source: NHS/UK Sepsis Trust

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