This is Sam.
Lots of Gin Funders will recognise his name because he is the reason we post the SAM leaflet on many of the posts from members of our Facebook group who are worried about their child’s health.
Sam was 3 years and 8 months old when he died.
This is Sam’s story, told by his mum, Sue…
“The morning before Sam died I knew something was wrong. He had had a very high temperature and flu symptoms for a week but that morning he just looked so, so ill. He had no colour at all, was very pale and had no interest in anything. What struck me as most odd was that his very high temperature had suddenly dropped down to an almost normal 37, but he seemed so much more ill. It was like he was here, but not here. When I phoned the GP mid-morning and was given an appointment 5 hours later that afternoon, I didn’t question whether he needed to be seen more urgently.
I had never heard of sepsis.
I gave him doses of Calpol and ibuprofen expecting him to have a little ‘brighter’ patch as the medicine kicked in, as normally happened in these circumstances. But ‘normal’ just didn’t happen. He lay on the sofa drifting in and out of sleep, not interested in what his brother was playing or a DVD… just really thirsty; he wouldn’t put his drink down. He was sleeping so much I popped a nappy on him as I thought he may have an accident. I did the glass test to check for meningitis, and checked for a stiff neck and dislike of bright lights but it was all clear. If I’d known about sepsis I would have monitored Sam’s urine output. We both thought the other had taken Sam to the toilet so didn’t realise he hadn’t been weeing. It’s such an easy thing to monitor if you’re aware. As it was, I kept doing the glass test and looking for signs of meningitis.
I had never heard of sepsis.
I had no idea Sam was displaying its warning signs. I felt something was wrong, I just had no idea how wrong it was going to be. Within 12 hours he had died.
Parents are the first people to triage their children. They decide if their child is to have Calpol or not, whether to ask the pharmacist for advice or call their GP. Every time their child is unwell, they are making judgements as to how ill their child is and what to do. We need to help parents make those decisions about how to respond when their child is ill by putting information about sepsis into their hands.
On the day that he died, Sam was going to be a shepherd in a nativity play.
I know that the run-up to Christmas is incredibly busy for families but I appeal to all parents, if you see something about sepsis awareness on social media please share it.”
Follow @sams_monkey on Twitter where Sue posts about sepsis awareness.
As part of the campaign, posters and leaflets are being distributed, encouraging parents to seek urgent medical help if their children display symptoms of looking mottled, bluish or pale; are very lethargic or difficult to wake; feel abnormally cold to touch; are breathing very fast; have a rash that does not fade when you press it, or has a fit or convulsion.
Mummy’s Gin Fund, ever eager to ensure #noparentleftbehind would like to encourage everyone who sees this post to share it with another parent. As Sue says, “Sam never got the chance to be a shepherd – we don’t want other families to experience the same tragedy.”