A mum claims doctors failed to spot the signs of sepsis in her 10-month old son.
Acacia Bell has urged parents to ‘trust their instincts’ over the life-threatening condition.
Her son Shane Og Kerr contracted the disease but it took months of trips to A&E before the correct diagnosis was made, reports Belfast Live .
The mum-of-two said she was made to feel ‘like she was stupid’ by health professionals for insisting her son was suffering with something more serious despite being told by doctors it was suspected tonsilitus.
The mum – who has sought legal advice due to what she claims was medical negligence – said she wants to warn parents of the signs of the deadly condition and urges them to be persistent.
She said: “He woke with a really high temperature in the early hours of Monday morning (May 22) and we gave him Calpol and Neurofen which took it down a bit but it still wasn’t below 38.
“He woke up an hour later crying and his temperature still wasn’t going down much so we kept him in our bed and kept an eye on him.”
But after an unsettled day with his temperature still not really decreasing despite Acacia giving him regular doses of medicine, Shane Og’s dad, Shane Kerr took him to another Out of Hours surgery.
Acacia says that her son was sent away from Out of Hours in Dungannon with ‘no real diagnosis’ and just told to keep giving Calpol and Nurofen.
“We knew something wasn’t right when Calpol and Nurofen wasn’t taking the temperature down.”
After another unsettled night and all day on Tuesday, the couple took their son to Out of Hours in Armagh where they were told his vitals were normal.
“His temperature was 37.6 in the out of hours so they said it wasn’t anything to worry about but if I wanted to go to Craigavon A&E to get his urine checked and they gave me a letter which said possible viral infection.
“He had started to come round himself and his colour wasn’t great but he seemed OK at that stage so we went home. That night he didn’t have a great night and he vomited all over our bed, he just wasn’t right.”
She continued: “The next morning I actually had to waken him, he was so lifeless and pale, and he kept covering his eyes and his wee hands were so mottled and he was shivering in my arms.
His temperature was in the 39 range so I phoned the doctor to get an emergency appointment but they wouldn’t give me one
I finally got an appointment later that afternoon and whilst in the doctors waiting he started going really shivery in my arms, his lips were going blue, his wee face drained of colour, his fingernails were actually purple that’s how blue his hands went.
“The doctor took one look at him and she said he was about to fit there’s something not right he needs an ambulance, she put an oxygen mask on him and monitored him until the ambulance arrived.
“It was so frightening, I was trying to hold in the tears. We were rushed in the ambulance to Craigavon with with the sirens and flashing lights going and taken into Resus.”
Whilst in hospital, Acacia said she was unhappy with how she was made to feel by health professionals and felt they didn’t do a thorough enough investigation of her son’s symptoms.
“They didn’t check his blood sugars or anything but they did his vitals and everything and they checked his throat and said his throat was a wee bit red so they were going to put it down as suspected tonsillitis and were going to give us an antibiotic. They give him 4ml of Nurofen as well and he started perking up.
“They told me to keep giving him the Calpol and Nurfoen every three hours and I told them I had been doing that for the last three days but his temperature still hadn’t been right and they said hopefully the antibiotic would kick in and help that.
“I was made to feel like I was wasting their time, like I was stupid but I knew there was something more wrong.”
After what seemed like a restful night for her son, Acacia, from Benburb, went to wake him on Thursday morning but to her horror discovered that his condition hadn’t improved.
“His cot is at the bottom of our bed and he was lying there, again with his wee hands over his face, and I can’t even describe his colour, death is the only word I can think of to describe it, his hands were blue and his wee eyelids and hands were purple, his wee skin mottled.
“I wrapped him in his blanket and took him in to my bed to warm him up as he was shivering and letting a wee cry out of him and I phoned the ambulance.”
After checking him over, Acaica said paramedics were satisfied that his vitals were OK and didn’t need further treatment .
“They put the wee heart machine on him and checked his numbers and said it was OK. I told them he was put on the antibiotic and they basically were saying it probably needed more time to work.”
Still not satisfied that her son had tonsillitis, Acaica and her partner Shane decided to take matters into their own hands and brought their son to the Royal Victoria Hospital for Sick Children.
She continued: “When we arrived they checked him over and said everything looked OK but they were concerned about his colour so they said they would take bloods and put a wee line in his arm in case he needed further antibiotics.
“The doctor then started to explain what they had found and although he said they didn’t know at that stage what it was he was talking about the level of infection. His infection level was 330 and in a normal person it should be under one, basically zero. “
“I just kept thinking it was cancer, that was all I could think of. He was taken up to Allen Ward and they still weren’t sure what it was but basically told us it was an infection of some sort and wanted to keep a close eye on us. They were brilliant, I can’t thank them enough.”
After five days in the Royal, Shane Og was diagnosed with Sepsis. Acaica says she wants it to be warning to all parents to listen to their instincts.
“Never let anyone make you feel stupid or make you feel like your wrong, trust your instincts, you know your child better than anyone.
“My wee girl has had tonsillitis a couple of times I knew it wasn’t that with him. I knew when my wee boy looked into my eyes that he was saying to me ‘mummy please help me’.”
A spokesperson for the Southern Trust said: “Whilst we are unable to comment on any individual case, we take all concerns about the quality of our care very seriously.
“We encourage patients to make a complaint about our services via our Complaints Department. Each complaint is fully investigated before we provide a comprehensive response.”
A spokesperson for the NI Ambulance Service added: “The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service would like to apologise to the mother of the child in relation to her dissatisfaction with the manner in which she believes she was treated by a NIAS crew who attended her son on 23 May. NIAS will make contact her and arrange to meet to discuss her concerns.”
Conal McGarrity from PA Duffy Solicitors acting on behalf of the family said: “We confirm we have been instructed to investigate this matter on behalf of the Kerr family. The Kerr family hope to raise awareness of their case and to ensure that another child does not suffer in the same way.
“Such incidents are regrettable and often avoidable. This is particularly so when it involves the care of a very young child.
“Unfortunately this is only one of very many possible medical negligence cases which we are currently dealing with. In our view this is symptomatic of system that is failing and part of a wider story of a health service now in crisis.”