A devastated mum has told how her 12-year-old son died of sepsis just three days after he was diagnosed with a viral infection.
Dylan Day was taken to a GP after he had been feeling unwell with a headache and sore throat, and became sick.
But within hours he was rushed to hospital by ambulance after his breathing became erratic and he was sick again.
His Sarah told the Stoke Sentinel that “it all happened so quickly” and all she and her husband Phil could do was kiss and hold their son.
The grief-stricken parents are now urging other mums and dads to learn the symptoms of sepsis, or blood poisoning, to prevent other tragedies.
After Dylan, from Cellarhead, Stoke, was rushed to Royal Stoke University Hospital he was transferred to Liverpool’s Alder Hey Hospital for specialist treatment.
But the Moorside High School pupil lost his fight for life on the evening January 20.
The cause of death was sepsis infection which had been brought on by Dylan’s flu B illness.
What is sepsis?
Sepsis is the reaction to an infection when the body attacks its own organs and tissues, the UK Sepsis Trust says.
Also known as blood poisoning, it is a potentially deadly condition which can be easily treated if caught early enough.
Adults and children suffer different symptoms, however.
There is no one sign in particular, and the serious condition can initially look like flu, gastroenteritis or a chest infection.
Adults should seek medical help urgently if they develop any of the following:
- Slurred speech or confusion
- Extreme shivering or muscle pain
- Passing no urine (in a day)
- Severe breathlessness
- It feels like you’re going to die
- Skin mottled or discoloured
If your child is unwell with a fever or a very low temperature, or has had a fever in the last 24 hours, parents should ask whether it could be sepsis.
Any child who is breathing very fast, has a “fit” or convulsion, looks mottled, bluish or pale, has a rash that does not fade when pressed, is very lethargic or difficult to wake, or feels abnormally cold to the touch might have sepsis.
Any child under five who is not feeding, is vomiting repeatedly, or hasn’t had a wee or a wet nappy for 12 hours might have sepsis.
Sarah, 36, said: “We felt desperate and helpless. All I could do was kiss and hold him. It was horrific, it all happened so quickly. We are still in shock with what’s happened. All we want to do is share what has happened.
“If parents know the symptoms or spot them, just ask the question. Ask if it could be sepsis. Ask the doctor, or when you call 111, about sepsis and get someone to check if they can.”
Sarah has described Dylan as a “thoughtful and lovely” boy. He played football for Leek CSOB under-14s and his team’s match against Kidsgrove Spitfires, which had been due to be played the morning after his death, was postponed as a mark of respect.
Dylan’s death also triggered an outpouring of emotion from across North Staffordshire’s footballing community.
Sarah added: “He loved any sport, especially football. He was a dream child, so caring, really laid back and easy going. Nobody would say a bad word about him – I loved being his mum.
“Our hearts are going out to Dylan’s friends. The community has supported us so much, especially the football team; St John’s Church; at Wetley Rocks; Moorside High School and St John’s School; and our friends and family.”
An online appeal set up following Dylan’s death has so far raised almost £13,000. The family has not yet decided how the money will be spent.
Dad Phil, 41, said: “We want to thank the hospital staff at the Royal Stoke, the transport team who got Dylan to Alder Hey, and the staff at Alder Hey who worked on him tirelessly – they worked together so well and they were amazing.”
Dylan also leaves his 14-year-old sister, Amelia, and eight-year-old brother Zach.
Click here for more information about the fundraising appeal and here for information about the Sepsis Trust.