A TODDLER died of sepsis days before his second birthday after doctors told his worried parents: “We know what we’re doing”, an inquest heard today.
Jack Sands was due to be discharged from hospital after having surgery on his skull but his condition worsened and he developed a rash.
An inquest heard his parents Gemma and John warned doctors after researching the symptoms of sepsis online but were told: “We’re the professionals. We know what we’re doing.”
But the 23-month-old, from Goole, East Yorks, tragically passed away on July 17 last year – just days after the surgery at Leeds General Infirmary.
Brain surgeon Paul Chumas told the inquest: “I hope one of the lessons learned is that we should listen to parents because they are the specialists in the care of their children.”
The hearing was told Jack had been admitted to hospital for the surgery for craniosynostosis, which causes problems with skull growth.
But Jack developed diarrhoea and sickness on July 12 and was diagnosed with gastroenteritis.
Four days later, he was transferred to a high-dependency unit when he “became increasingly unwell” and suffered a cardiac arrest.
But Gemma told how his his skin had become pale and mottled, adding: “My dad was telling the nurses about this, but nobody listened.”
The desperate family then searched online for the symptoms of sepsis and raised their concerns with medical staff.
Eventually Jack was given antibiotics – but the decision took “some hours” after a “diagnosis of sepsis was considered”.
Symptoms of sepsis to look out for
Sepsis, also referred to as blood poisoning or septicaemia, is a reaction to an infection that causes the body to damage its own organs and tissues.
The body’s immune system goes into overdrive.
It is vital sepsis is spotted as quickly as possible, as if not spotted and treated quickly, it can lead to shock, multiple organ failure and death.
Here are the symptoms to look out for:
- Slurred speech which is triggered by a lack of blood supply to brain
- Mottled or discoloured skin can appear anywhere on the body
- Extreme shivering or muscle pain due to a lack of oxygen
- Passing no urine over the course of 24 hours as kidneys fail
- Severe breathlessness when body senses there is not enough oxygen getting to the brain. The illness increases the “drive” to breathe to increase it. May also lead to fast breathing or a fast heartbeat
- A high temperature
- Chronic tiredness
- Change in mental state such as confusion or disorientation
- Swelling of affected area
A post-mortem revealed there was “an overwhelming bacterial infection” on the brain around where he had the operation.
Recording a narrative verdict, Senior Coroner Kevin McLoughlin said: “The origin of the infection and the mechanism by which it developed, are unclear”.
Senior sister Julie Cooper said following Jack’s death, staff had now been trained to spot the signs of sepsis.