A heartbroken mum has told of the ‘strange set of emotions’ she experienced giving birth to her baby girl just three days after the funeral of her nine-year-old daughter.
Courtney McCracken was excited for the birth of her baby sister but never got to meet her as she died of an undiagnosed condition days before her birth.
Mum Lisa, from Grimsby, has spoken publicly for the first time following the death of Courtney on November 12 last year, reports GrimsbyLive .
She has joined forces with another Grimsby mum, Karen Glean, whose son Ben died from one of two conditions Courtney was found to have been suffering – diabetic ketoacidosis – in order to raise awareness.
Single parent, Lisa, 26, said Courtney went to bed at the family home feeling poorly and never regained consciousness.
The grieving mum said her farewell at Courtney’s funeral in December and three days later gave birth to her daughter, Evelyn.
The mum-of-five said: “It was a strange set of emotions saying ‘goodbye’ to one and three days later saying ‘hello’ to another.
She added: “It was sad that Courtney never got to meet her sister Evelyn.
“I was going to call her Hope, when I was expecting her. But Courtney said she wanted to call her Evelyn. So after she died that is the name I chose.”
Lisa said all of her other children will be tested for the condition that took Courtney’s life.
She said: “I am a lot more aware now of the condition and what to look out for.
"My other children will be going for tests soon to check so they don’t have a similar condition.”
“They are so easily passed off as other conditions and it is so easy to miss.”
The told how Courtney began feeling unwell the Thursday before she died.
She came home from school, had some tea and then went to bed.
Around half an hour later she came downstairs feeling sick and later vomited.
The following day she appeared to pick up but remained off school.
The next day she was still tired but played a while then went to bed after lunch.
Half an hour later her mum went to check on her and came face to face with every parent’s worst nightmare – Courtney was unresponsive in her bed.
As she waited for paramedics to arrive, tragically Courtney suffered cardiac arrest.
“It felt like a long time,” said Lisa.
“After the ambulance came police arrived and we had to leave the home – we were not allowed back until they had done all these checks.”
She said she said she did not know how Courtney died until results of a post mortem examination were revealed in March.
They showed she died from an auto immune disorder which affected the nine-year-old’s heart, thyroid and pancreas.
It also stated she had undiagnosed diabetic ketoacidosis.
Lisa said: “It broke my heart to lose her. It happened so quickly, from being healthy to a few hours later leaving us.
“She was my shadow. We did everything together. I was only 15 years old when I had her.
“She absolutely loved her school and hated it when it was half term. She was a proper geek.”
Karen’s son Ben, 18, died in December. He was a popular student at Franklin College.
Lisa and Karen will be hosting an awareness day next month at Oasis Academy Wintringham to campaign for all GPs surgeries to offer children a quick pinprick test to see if diabetes ketoacidosis is present.
Lisa said: “It should be routine at all surgeries.”
She also paid tribute to the support she had received from Ben’s mum.
“She has been amazing and a great support and strength. If I need someone to cry to she is there and she knows what it is like to lose a child so suddenly.
Since losing Ben, Karen has worked tirelessly for a national campaign to make parents and the medical profession more aware of the condition and the speed of its consequences.
Some of Ben’s organs were used for transplant to give the gift of life to other patients.
Karen is spearheading the Make That Change BT1Aware campaign , along with other members of Ben’s family.
Karen said: “The BT1Aware campaign aims to provide educational establishments, GP surgeries and hospitals with the information and resources we have at our disposal to raise awareness around Type 1 Diabetes both in a medical environment to avoid further deaths and also to improve care available in schools for those already diagnosed.”
Karen said the condition which killed Courtney and Ben is a complication of diabetes which occurs when the body has insufficient insulin and blood glucose levels rise too high.
She set up the Trust in his memory to fund raise for charities which were close to Ben’s heart. The organisation is also campaigning to ensure type 1 diabetes tests are carried out routinely when admitted to Accident and Emergency (A&E) in hospital.
“On admission to A&E there are a lot of tests done as standard. There are blood pressure tests and electrocardiogram ECG tests done as standard. We would like tests for type 1 diabetes done as well whenever people go for checks.
“We want to make the finger prick test a standard test. This test can be carried out quite cheaply and as well as saving lives, could save the NHS high costs of treatment of type 1 being undiagnosed. "It is better to be tested at the beginning rather than at the end when it is too late. It has to be ruled out from the beginning.”
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