Home U.K Toddler dies from sepsis day after hospital medics said it was 'tummy...

Toddler dies from sepsis day after hospital medics said it was 'tummy bug'


Harper Aitken, three, had a rash on her stomach, which failed the glass test, and so mum Lori Mullen, 36, phoned for an ambulance. The youngster was taken to hospital, gave a wee sample but, as Lori went to collect it, Harper defecated and the medic said it was contaminated. The doctor at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert, Scotland, said Harper had a tummy bug and said she should go home.

But her condition worsened and she was rushed back to hospital one day later, but died of sepsis.

Lori told Daily Record: “In the night she was ­hallucinating and her temperature went up again.

“Next morning she had perked up but she was back and forward to the toilet with ­diarrhoea.

“In the afternoon my mum noticed a blue dot on her hand. I lifted up her top and found the rash really bad on her back. Her lips were beginning to turn blue.”

Speaking today – World Sepsis Awareness Day – Lori wants to raise awareness of the vile infection, which arises when the body’s response to infection causes injury to its own tissues and organs.

Harper’s sepsis had started from a simple throat infection, known as Strep A.

The mum added: “I had asked the first doctor if she had anything life-threatening. She said, ‘No, no’ but the next day she wasn’t here anymore.”

The Procurator Fiscal told Lori changes to procedure have been made after Harper’s death.

But Lori said: “I have never seen any evidence of that. The hospital has never told me what they have done.”

And she urged other parents: “Trust your gut. I wish I had said the word ‘sepsis’.”

An NHS Forth Valley ­spokeswoman said: ”A number of changes and improvements have been made following a detailed internal review. This included additional clinical education and training led by an experienced paediatrician.

“We have met with the family on a number of occasions and shared the findings of the review, however, we will ensure they are also updated on the work which has been carried out.”

Charity Sepsis Research FEAT said sepsis kills around 4,000 people in Scotland every year but the true figures could be even higher.

Colin Graham, the charity’s chief operating officer, said: “We believe these figures could be understated and are calling on the Scottish Government and NHS to regularly disclose the true figures relating to sepsis cases.”

More information on sepsis can be found here.

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