2 year-old Dexter Shattock was repeatedly turned away from doctors as his ordinary chicken pox developed into something far more serious.

Dexter Shattock was sent home from nursery after staff discovered that he had contracted chicken pox for the second time. After being sent home with Calpol from his GP surgery 6 times, Ms Shattock thought she was just: ‘being a paranoid mother’, however this failure to recognise symptoms nearly resulted in two-year-old Dexter’s death.

Ms Shattock initially trusted the advice of her GP, however as Dexter’s condition worsened his temperature rose to 39 degrees, and he started to become lethargic, sleeping for over 23 hours a day. At this point Ms Shattock realised something was seriously wrong, as Dexter had also started to become limp and struggle for breath, so she took him into A&E. Staff were confident Dexter had an infection and put in a cannula as Dexter has become severely dehydrated by this point.

The pair were then sent by ambulance to Bristol Royal Children’s Hospital, Dexter was given oxygen in the ambulance, as his oxygen levels had become dangerously low, upon arrival Dexter seemed to have made a recovery after being given fluids and oxygen, and so he was discharged.

However, the following evening Dexter took a drastic turn for the worse and was taken by ambulance to Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton. Luckily doctors at Musgrove Park Hospital spotted a shadow on one of Dexter’s lungs and he was diagnosed with chicken pox, pneumonia and sepsis. Dexter luckily received the correct treatment, including antibiotics to help flush out the infection.

Fortunately, Dexter is making a full recovery, however sepsis is deadly if not recognised and treated early. Studies by the NHS trust show that 37,000 people die from sepsis every year in the UK alone. Sepsis is most commonly triggered as a result of an infection, although you are more at risk if you’ve recently had surgery, have spent a long period of time in hospital or have a weakened/damaged immune system.

If a child under the age of 5 experiences any of these symptoms of sepsis then they should be immediately taken to A&E:

  • Pale, bluish or mottled skin
  • Lethargic
  • Cold to touch
  • Rapid/difficult breathing
  • Has a rash that doesn’t fade when pressure is applied
  • Has seizures
  • Abnormally low or high temperature
  • Not had a wee or wet nappy in over 12 hours
  • No interest in feeding or drinking
  • Green black or bloody vomit
  • Baby is floppy

All of these symptoms can also be related to other serious diseases, such as: meningitis.

Symptoms of sepsis in adults are often similar to those in children, but more easily recognisable, these include:

  • High or low temperature
  • Shivering
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Rapid/difficult breathing

If you or someone you know suspects that they have sepsis or is experiencing any of the previously mentioned symptoms then they should seek medical attention or contact a medical professional immediately.

Management of sepsis after admission to hospital should begin within an hour of diagnosis. This usually involves a combination of three tests and three treatments, commonly known among medical professionals as the ‘sepsis six’:

  • Taking blood cultures to identify the bacteria behind the sepsis
  • Taking a blood sample to assess the severity of sepsis
  • Monitoring urine output to assess the severity of sepsis and efficiency
  • Antibiotics (if the sepsis is diagnosed early enough these may be a course of tablets you can take from home)
  • Intravenous fluids in case of dehydration
  • Oxygen (if oxygen levels are low)

Sepsis is usually treatable, and will in most cases lead to a full recovery with no lasting conditions, when the condition is properly managed and identified quickly. Unfortunately if there is a delay in diagnosis of sepsis it can lead to septic shock, which can cause damage to vital organs and result in death.

Our specialist medical negligence lawyers at Freeths have experience and specialist knowledge of cases of sepsis and delayed diagnosis of other infections such as meningitis.

If you, or a loved one suspect that you may have received negligent treatment then we may also be able to help you. Please contact one of our national team:-

Siobhan Genever, Director (Nottingham) on 0845 271 6793 or siobhan.genever@freeths.co.uk

Carolyn Lowe, Partner (Oxford/Milton Keynes) on 0186 578 1019 or carolyn.lowe@freeths.co.uk

Karen Reynolds, Partner (Derby/Stoke) on 0845 272 5677 or karen.reynolds@freeths.co.uk

Jane Williams, Partner (Leicester) on 0845 272 5724 or jane.williams@freeths.co.uk

For further information please also visit our website at: http://www.freeths.co.uk/legal-services/individuals/clinical-negligence/

For further information about this story please see the following link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5912515/Mother-24-told-son-lucky-alive-doctors-dismissed-sepsis-symptoms.html