Toddler left fighting for life as chicken pox turns into deadly sepsis leaving him unable to breathe

Jasmin Shattock claims doctors missed the signs and sent her her two-year-old son, Dexter home, despite him having “dangerously low” oxygen levels.

The mum-of-two said she visited her GP six times in the days before after Dexter went off his food and drink and was struggling to breathe, but was told to give him Calpol.

Jasmin, 24, claims the day after her toddler was sent home by doctors at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children he was admitted to Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton.

There, she claims medics revealed if she’d waited any longer he could have died.

“I thought my boy was going to die," Jasmin from Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset, said. “He was not like my little boy. He became very clingy and would be dragging himself around the floor. He was hot and sweating and his nappy was dry.

“He was sleeping 23 hours a day, he would wake up and then close his eyes again.

“He didn’t want to eat or drink anything and his breathing had become very rapid.”

Single mum Jasmin said her little boy was sent home from nursery on May 14 with the chicken pox, his second bout of the condition, and she took him to Graham Road Surgery in Weston-super-Mare.

According to the NHS it is possible to get chicken pox twice, although it is extremely rare.

“The first day he was fine but on the second day he started to deteriorate. He wasn’t drinking or eating and he was feeling very hot and sweaty,” she said.

“I took him back to the doctor and they told me he seemed fine so I trusted them.

“That same night I noticed his breathing was quite bad. It didn’t seem right and seemed like it he was struggling, it was very rapid.

“He wasn't eating or drinking or going to the toilet much and he’d started being sick, his temperature was 39 degrees.

“I noticed a couple of spots on the back of his neck that had turned black but the doctors told me they weren’t infected so he didn’t need antibiotics and told me to give him Calpol.”

Jasmin returned to the doctors again twice on Thursday, three days after he was sent home from nursery, and once on Friday when Dexter’s temperature had gone down.

“On Saturday morning I decided to take him to A&E at Weston General Hospital. He'd started going limp so I thought it was best to take him straight there,” Jasmin said.

DEADLY CONDITION What is sepsis, what are the symptoms the condition and what are the signs in children and adults?

“They did blood tests and X-rays and told me they were confident he had an infection. They said he was severely dehydrated and put a cannula in.

“They told me they would send the results straight to Bristol Royal Children's Hospital and then we were blue-lighted there.

“When we got there we were told to go into a room. They did some observations and said that he seemed fine and wasn't dehydrated and he was given some Calpol.

“It was very confusing. I was thinking 'well he must be fine' if he's been to the doctor six times this week and the hospital are sending him home.”

The on May 20, Dexter took a turn for the worst and was rushed to Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton in an ambulance.

Jasmin claims doctors at the hospital looked at the same blood results and X-rays that were done in Bristol and confirmed he had an infection.

He spent five hours in the emergency room where he needed help breathing before being transferred to the children’s ward where he spent three days being given oxygen and antibiotics.

Jasmin, who also has a ten-month-old son Brody Shattock, said: “They told me he had chicken pox, pneumonia with sepsis.

“They said the sepsis developed from the chicken pox but I'm not sure how. He didn’t appear to have been scratching them.

“It doesn't bear thinking about – the fact that we nearly lost him.

“I wouldn't have been able to live with myself. I would have thought it was my fault because I didn't bring him in sooner.”

Dexter was discharged on May 23 and now, six weeks on, he is getting back to his normal self.

Jasmin said she wants lessons to be learned from her experience.

“I just feel disgusted with the way he was treated. I want to know why the signs were missed,” she said.

“Sepsis is a deadly condition which kills. When we were at Bristol he had the symptoms, I know they shouldn’t have sent us home.”

A spokesman for University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust said: “We were very concerned to hear Ms Shattock’s experiences.

“As you would expect we are investigating and will contact her once our investigation has concluded.”

Mark Graham, chief executive of Locality Health Centre Group which runs the Graham Road Surgery, said: “This has now moved to a formal complaint process so I am unable to comment on the details of this particular patient.

“I have been told that studies suggest a rate of about one in 100,000 children per year in the whole population and a rate of 8.5 per 100,000 children a year in those that get chickenpox go on to have sepsis.

“Sepsis also develops very rapidly so it is not uncommon for someone to be seen by a doctor and still develop sepsis very soon after.”


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