Thomas was a typical 2 year old boy . He was energetic , boisterous and extremely cheeky – he lit up our lives with his smile and his fun nature . He was very independent but also loved spending time with his older brother and at nursery.
One morning Thomas was sent home from nursery after staff noticed a few spots on his arm and back. Over the weekend Thomas became covered in chickenpox . Thomas spent the next few days poorly on the sofa and didn’t really want to do anything other than sleep and be cuddled. Having already gone through chickenpox with our other son when he had just turned one , we didn’t worry because he displayed all of the same symptoms – high temperature , loss of appetite , tiredness etc
Myself and my wife went into work as normal and Thomas was staying with family members . On Tuesday 23rd June 2015 i collected Thomas and took him home . He still had a high temperature but was eating grapes and sitting up – i assumed that he was on the mend ( how wrong I was! )
I dressed Thomas in some shorts and a t-shirt to try to cool him down and sat him on the sofa while I went to warm him some milk before bed time . When I came back Thomas wasn’t really responding , but I just thought that he was falling asleep as it was around bed time . I put his milk bottle into his hands and he just let go as if he couldn’t grip . I sat him up and he just flopped to the side . It was at this moment that I realised that something was dreadfully wrong . I phoned a family member who is medically trained and then I phoned for an ambulance. The operator told me to lay Thomas on the floor and check his airways and then to check that he was breathing . Thomas was still breathing but it was extremely shallow . This was very frightening for me to go through especially as I was alone in the house with Thomas , and the thoughts of those moments still haunt me now .
Medical help arrived but Thomas had gone into cardiac arrest. My wife and 5 year old son arrived back and had to witness what was happening . I went from running around the front room panicking , to just sitting on the road outside in utter shock at what was happening . We were rushed to hospital where the staff made an enormous effort to save Thomas but sadly there was no hope , and Thomas was pronounced dead shortly after.
Doctors were baffled at what had happened , as we were , and it was around 2 weeks before we started to get answers . Toxicology reports had revealed that Thomas had an overwhelming , invasive strep A infection , and the underlying cause was chickenpox , which had masked all of the symptoms making it impossible for us or anyone else to spot . Sepsis deaths related to chickenpox are extremely rare , but we still feel passionately about spreading awareness of the symptoms of sepsis , as we hadn’t even heard of it at all , and if we had , perhaps we would have questioned earlier in Thomas’ illness whether something more serious was wrong .
The loss of Thomas has had a devastating effect on our family , and in particular myself , my wife and our 6 year old son Lucas who misses his little brother . Our lives changed forever within a matter of moments and it gets harder as the months go by , not easier .
Please make yourselves aware of the symptoms of sepsis and keep spreading the word until people listen – it happened to us , it can happen to anyone .