A mother is urging parents to be aware of the signs of potentially deadly sepsis after her five-month-old daughter was left fighting for her life.
Emma Woodland said she took baby Bonnie to her GP with a cough but it was dismissed as ‘just had a virus’ and they were sent home.
But less than 24 hours later, the infant stopped breathing and was on life support.
The 38-year-old took to Facebook to warn others after her ordeal in a post that’s been shared 3,200 times.
She explained tests revealed she was suffering from bronchiolitis – a common respiratory infection that affects children under two.
But the youngster took a turn for the worse when the infection triggered sepsis – a life-threatening condition that causes the body’s immune system to attack itself.
Ms Woodland was shocked at the speed at which the illness took hold and revealed when she arrived at hospital with Bonnie she was ‘happy and smiling’ but within the an hour she needed tubes to breathe.
Emma Woodland took Bonnie to her GP with cough but dismissed as a virus
The 38-year-old mother-of-four, from Godstone in Surrey, pictured with her children
Within 24 hour of getting a cough, the infant stopped breathing and was on life support
WHAT IS SEPSIS?
Sepsis, known as the ‘silent killer’, strikes when an infection such as blood poisoning sparks a violent immune response in which the body attacks its own organs.
It is the leading cause of avoidable death, killing at least 44,000 a year, and the Daily Mail has long campaigned for more awareness.
If caught early, the infection can be controlled by antibiotics before the body goes into overdrive – ultimately leading to death within a matter of minutes.
But the early symptoms of sepsis can be easily confused with more mild conditions, meaning it can be difficult to diagnose.
A patient can rapidly deteriorate if sepsis is missed early on, so quick diagnosis and treatment is vital – yet this rarely happens.
Ms Woodland wrote: ‘Please if you have ANY doubts with your child or baby’s breathing, anything at all, then don’t hesitate to call an ambulance.
‘Even if it the smallest snuffle or gasp, then get them to A&E. Thank goodness for us that the paramedics had made that decision “to run her up there as there’s no harm in getting her looked over” because we know for sure if they hadn’t we would be writing a whole different post right now.’
‘I never even knew that bronchiolitis could kill a child’
The mother-of-four first suspected something was wrong with Bonnie in the early hours of December 12.
An ambulance rushed to the family home in Godstone in Surrey and paramedics decided to take the little girl in for a check up ‘as a precaution’.
By the time they arrived at East Surrey Hospital in Redhill Bonnie’s oxygen levels had dropped dramatically and her heart rate had risen.
She took to Facebook to warn other parents about the symptoms her little girl had
Tests revealed the baby had bronchiolitis, a common respiratory infection among children under the age of two
The child was placed on life support and transferred to the intensive care unit at St George’s Hospital in south London.
Ms Woodland wrote: ‘If like me, I never even knew that bronchiolitis could kill a child? You here about meningitis, measles, mumps and rubella all being serious childhood illnesses but no body tells you about bronchiolitis and after speaking with other parents and doctors it is more common than I ever realised especially at this time of year.
Indeed severe respiratory failure – an inability to breathe unaided – is a potential complication of bronchiolitis, according to NHS Choices.
The early symptoms of the condition can include a runny nose and a cough making it easy to mistake for a common cold.
Children may go on to suffer rapid or noisy breathing and vomiting.
WHAT IS BRONCHIOLITIS?
Bronchiolitis is a common lower respiratory tract infection that affects babies and young children under two years old.
Most cases are mild and clear up without the need for treatment within two to three weeks, although some children have severe symptoms and need hospital treatment.
The early symptoms of bronchiolitis are similar to those of a common cold, such as a runny nose and cough.
The symptoms usually get worse during the next few days, before gradually improving.
During this time, your child may develop some of the following symptoms:
- A rasping and persistent dry cough
- Rapid or noisy breathing (wheezing)
- Brief pauses in their breathing
- Feeding less and having fewer wet nappies
- Vomiting after feeding
- Being irritable
Source: NHS Choices
The infection triggered sepsis – which causes the immune system to attack itself
Bronchiolitis is caused by a virus known as the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which is spread through tiny droplets of liquid from the coughs or sneezes of someone who’s infected.
The infection causes the smallest airways in the lungs (the bronchioles) to become infected and inflamed.
The inflammation reduces the amount of air entering the lungs, making it difficult to breathe.
Sepsis kills more people than breast and bowel cancer combined, with 44,000 deaths every year.
Without quick treatment, sepsis can lead to multiple organ failure and death.