Location; Isle of Man
“Our daughter Ann was only 18 years old when she died of multi organ failure due to Sepsis. She loved nothing more than being with her family and spending time with her friends. Every day we cherish our memories and miss her so much always.”
On the 18 July 2013 at 14.23 hours our family was devastated when our beautiful daughter Ann Emily died at the age of 18 years 5 months and 10 days. Her death was related to pneumonia which led to sepsis and multi organ failure.
Following being unwell for 10 days with no specific symptoms other than a slight irritating cough and pain in left side of her chest, which reduced her to tears on one occasion, I decided to take Ann to A & E on 6th July telling medical staff that Ann had a very fast pulse and fast shallow breathing, ( 2 of what I now know to be the Sepsis Six). After examination Doctor advised, intercostal muscle pain due to coughing and sent us off with anti-inflammatory tablets and pain killers. If she felt any worse we were advised to go to our G.P.
That evening it seem remarkable looking back that Ann watched TV had a little bit of tea and seemed no worse. The clinical picture changes so rapidly.
6 hours later at 4am Sunday 7th Ann became confused, disorientated, hallucinating and unsteady on her feet. I checked out her symptoms via the web and was staring to suspect Pneumonia. We rushed Ann back to A & E. This time a member of the Nursing team told us that we “had a very sick young girl !”. Ann was admitted to hospital and diagnosed with pneumonia. Although we were not directly told by doctors at first that Ann had been put on the “sepsis pathway”, on day 2 of admission we were starting to suspect things were more serious than we first thought, oxygen, saline and antibiotic treatment had commenced but Ann’s hands were starting to look puffy, only then was Sepsis mentioned to us. Although a great many procedures including a drain being inserted to remove 1000 mls of fluid from her lungs, a catheter inserted to assist urine output and being moved to Coronary Care Unit, as she needed high dependency care, until a bed became available in ICU, not once did we imagine that Ann’s life was in danger.
Despite my husband, Ann’s Dad, being a qualified nurse educator and I a Nursery Nurse with experience in a children’s medical /surgical ward years before, mattered not a jot. As helpless parents we put our trust in the professionals hoping they have all the answers and would take good care of our precious loved one.
Ann had to eventually be ventilated due to exhaustion trying to breath. Nothing could have prepared us for having to witness our daughter fighting for her life with tubes, drains, renal dialysis, lines the list became endless. Clinical staff worked tirelessly but Ann’s immune system failed to respond to treatment.
Sepsis continued to destroy the function of Ann’s vital organs and 11 days after her admission she died. Our lives changed from that moment.
Almost 3 years on I have recently become a UK Sepsis Trust Volunteer Representative for The Isle of Man. Assisting with fund raising and also helping to raise sepsis awareness and encouraging people to ask “Is it sepsis ?” Hopefully this will help save lives and keep Ann’s memory alive by re-framing crisis into growth.
Mum Dee Dee, Dad John and “little sis” Amy.