A Melton couple have made an urgent appeal to other parents to look out for symptoms of sepsis in their children after their five-year-old daughter almost died from the blood poisoning condition.
Matthew and Jessica Sage went through a traumatic experience last month when little Lillie became violently ill and needed the intervention of doctors at Leicester Royal Infirmary to save her life.
They had initially taken her to the walk-in centre at Melton Mowbray Hospital after she developed a cough, a high temperature and kept vomiting.
The couple were advised to take Lillie to a local accident and emergency hospital and were told by staff there that she did not have sepsis, but that it was instead a respiratory viral infection.
After returning home, Lillie’s condition quickly worsened after her body temperature plummeted and she began being violently sick.
The Sages called for an ambulance and as they waited for it to arrive a mottled rash appeared all over her body.
As the crew took them under blue flashing lights to the hospital a paramedic called ahead to say she had suspected sepsis.
Jessica (31) told the Melton Times: “We were lucky in our case that we acted on instinct because if we hadn’t called 999 she wouldn’t be here now.
“There are so many people who have heard of sepsis but who never think it could happen to them and their family.
“We want to warn other people to look out for the symptoms so they don’t have to go through what we went through.”
It all started when Lillie became ill with a sickness bug the day before the autumn term started at the town’s Sherard Primary School, where she is a pupil.
She developed a cough and looked unwell and in the early hours of Sunday September 22 became very poorly with a high temperature and suffered a fit.
Her parents gave her Calpol medication assuming it was a 24-hour bug but she got more ill during the day prompting them to visit the Melton hospital.
They were advised to take her to an A&E, which the couple do not want to name because of a potential legal case, where medics carried out tests and gave her Ibuprofen.
Lillie’s temperature reduced and doctors discharged her with the advice to give her more Ibuprofen and Calpol over four or five days.
The family returned home in the early hours of Monday and Jessica said they had a gut feeling that something wasn’t right with her.
Just before 2am on the Tuesday the couple were woken by the sound of Lillie shivering violently and her teeth chattering.
Her breath was short and her body went very cold.
They decided to call 999 and while they waited over two hours the aggressive mottled rash appeared.
While Matthew (40) drove to the Leicester Royal Infirmary, Jessica travelled with Lillie in the ambulance and she recalled: “We arrived at the Royal in 20 minutes but it felt like a lifetime.
“I heard the paramedic on the phone calling ahead to the hospital.
“He said to them that they suspected sepsis and my heart stopped because I couldn’t believe it.”
After an X-ray and other tests were carried out at the hospital, Jessica said: “A doctor came in the room and said to us ‘you don’t know how lucky she is. You got her here just in time. She is a very, very poorly little girl’.”
Lillie spent three days in hospital and took antibiotics for seven days when she returned home. She is back at school now and doing well.
“It was terrifying for Lillie and for her eight-year-old sister, Evelyn, who was with us through it all,” added Jessica.
“She is now fit and well but we want to raise as much awareness in Melton as we can about this deadly infection.
“There is a lack of information for parents at GP practices and schools in the area.
“We want to let people know how easily it can happen to anyone.”
The Sages advise parents to look out for the following symptoms which could indicate their child has sepsis and call 999 if they suspect they might have it:
Fever, not passing urine, feeling cold, being lethargic, shortness of breath, an aggressive mottled rash.