My son was 37 at the time, with two beautiful children, Dalton aged 4, and Bonnie aged 5. Luke doted on his children, they were his life and they adored and loved their father just as much.
Luke was a fit and energetic young man, was training to be a drug and alcohol counsellor, and was mentoring several young adults who had these addiction problems.
Luke also ran and coached a local football team for Devon Abilities, helping and encouraging young people with learning difficulties to overcome their problems and give them the confidence to cope better through the sport, particularly football.
Only a few months previous to my son passing away, he had coached and played with his team to win the league trophy, which he was very proud of.
Always working and helping others who were down, depressed and putting other people before himself, and sadly missed by all these people as well as us, his family.
Luke never really was the kind of person to go to the doctors unless it was really needed, and back at the end of July 2014, he told me he was feeling ill, headache, shivers and sore throat.
He went the next day to see his doctor, who after seeing that he had swollen glands and a slight temperature, told him he probably just had a cold, and told him to rest and take paracetamol.
A few days later, Luke reported that he had headaches and felt dizzy and he was getting pains in his lower back and tingling down his right leg and it was keeping him wake at night. We went again to his doctor, who then said he probably had sciatica or as he played football, he might have a trapped nerve, and prescribed him stronger pain killers. No blood tests were taken and he was told to rest.
By the middle of August, his leg pain was worse, he was suffering bouts of dizziness and on a couple of occasions he had slurred speech, and he phoned me early one morning in tears of pain and asked me what to do. I immediately took him to the A&E at Exeter hospital, and after a brief examination, the nurse told my son that he should go back to his GP, who could refer him to the Spine clinic, as they thought that it was sciatica and there was nothing they could do, again, no blood tests were taken.
I went with Luke to his GP, and at no time was anything mentioned that it could be Sepsis, and being totally unaware of this condition myself, I just assumed, as the medical staff were telling us, that Luke had a trapped nerve and this was responsible for the pain and other symptoms. A concoction of different medication was given to him to try to help with the pain and his lack of sleep, and a referral was made to the spine clinic.
On Wednesday the 10th September, Luke was due to go to his brothers in the same town, to have dinner with his family, and was riding his cycle there, but halfway he phoned his brother to say he was too tired to ride the remainder and his brother went to collect him.
They had a good time together that day, it was to be the last time he saw his brother alive again.
On the Friday, the 12th September, I text Luke to say I was coming over and would take him for breakfast, but he declined as he said he had a busy day ahead and was leaving soon, so after arranging to speak later in the day, we left it like that.
Later on, Luke text his mother and I to say that he would phone later in the evening, he was on the bus home and was feeling very tired.
That weekend( Sunday the 14th) he was due to see his children and spend the day with them, as he and his ex partner were separated and the children lived with her, so Luke and I had arranged for me to come and pick him up on Sunday morning and take him up to Exeter to pick the children up.
Luke never text or called that evening, and even though our texts to him were unanswered, we did not panic because often Luke would be tired after a long day counselling etc, and would go to bed early, so we just thought it best to let him rest.
Next day we text him and tried calling him, but no reply, and I asked my other son to go to see if Luke was ok. He was only a few streets away, and called at Luke’s house but got no answer, he told me that he looked through Luke’s letter box and his cycle was not in the hallway, so assumed that he was out for a ride.
All day long we heard nothing from him, no relies from text or phone and we were getting worried, it was not like Luke to not respond especially as we had arrangements to discuss regarding the children’s visit on Sunday.
My other son and I met up early on Sunday morning outside Luke’s house, I shouted and rang the bell, looked through the letter box and his cycle still wasn’t in the hallway, and then I had a terrible fear and feeling wash over me and just knew that my son was inside.
We called the police and forced the door open, and my dearest boy was lying dead propped against the front door, with his shopping in one hand and his front door key in the other. He must have made a supreme effort to get inside his own door, being the kind of person he was, he wouldn’t have wanted anyone seeing his distress.
The coroner at first could not find a cause of death, and only after samples were tested was it discovered that Luke had died from Sepsis caused by a Strep A infection that his doctor misdiagnosed.
Our sons passing has been so devastating to our whole family, to have a young fit devoted person taken like that, is life changing and heart breaking.
I cannot explain or describe how I feel, or any of us, and to think that it could have been avoided by the fact that if Sepsis was suspected, spotted and tested for, my son would still be with us.
No son, no brother, no father, and no role model for the countless young people he was helping and would have helped in the future, gone through lack of awareness and a few simple checks.
Since my Son has passed away, and I have learned about Sepsis, it makes no sense that medical staff and the public in general, have so little knowledge of this merciless taker of life.
We all need to do all we can, to stop this from happening, and make everyone aware of the consequences.
If my sons story helps in anyway to bring that awareness to more people, then it has served at least some purpose in his passing.
To us, his family, there will never be an excuse for ignorance, and we, devastated, heartbroken and without a part of us that we can never replace, will never be able to put this right.
Don’t become a victim through lack of knowledge, and don’t accept a first opinion, ALWAYS insist on further examination if you suspect Sepsis.
My wonderful son, Luke, passed away on the 12th September 2014, suddenly and unexpectedly, just inside his front door of his home, and remained there undiscovered until I found him 2 days later.