Jake's Story

Two-year-old Jake from Leigh was transferred to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital by the North West and Wales Paediatric Transport Service.  Here his mum Joanna tells us about their worst two weeks of her life…

In November 2015, when Jake was 16- months-old I received a call from nursery to say he’d had an allergic reaction and that his face had swollen.  Jake has an allergy to raw egg but he hadn’t touched or eaten any.  I took him to my local hospital and he was given Adrenalin.

He seemed ok for a few days and then on the Sunday night spots appeared on his body, his sister Amelia had chicken pox so I just thought he was starting with them too.   

On the Monday he had a temperature and he deteriorated in the night – so much so I put a travel cot up in my room so he could be by my side.  On the Tuesday his temperature went higher and a rash came all over his body and his face – he looked like he had nettle stings all over him.

We took him to the local walk-in centre and he was sick in the reception – again they thought he’d had another allergic reaction so we were transferred by ambulance to our local hospital.  They thought he was having a reaction to the chicken pox and started treatment and we were sent home. 

On the Wednesday he seemed lethargic put perked up at tea-time. At 5am on Thursday morning I could hear Jake murmuring and then he started crying.  I went to the travel cot and his eyes were swollen he couldn’t open them.  I panicked and took him straight to our local A and E.

They admitted him to a ward and tried to put a cannula in him but he was so dehydrated that they really struggled.  We had to hold him down and he kept screaming for his granddad, he must have been so terrified as he couldn’t see what was going on.  I also noticed that his neck had swollen and felt hard at the back and I asked for a doctor immediately as his feet had turned bright blue. A doctor came to see us and told us that to help my son they needed to move him to the High Dependency Unit.

A little bit later we were told that to help our son get better they needed to put him into an induced coma – which meant putting him on a ventilator and that a specialist team from the North West and Wales Paediatric Transport Service would come and ventilate him and transfer my son to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

I knew then that my active little boy was seriously ill and I was instantly sick.  I couldn’t see him coming off the ventilator; I thought we were going to lose him.

We were taken straight to PICU and the doctors came to see us they explained how seriously ill my little soldier was but that the induced coma was helping him.  They started to run more tests – including for meningitis.

Doctors told us they suspected that Jake had Septicaemia and Toxic Shock Syndrome and that was what was making him so poorly.  I didn’t really know anything about either condition before this happened to Jake, but the doctors explained that Septicaemia is a toxin getting into the blood stream and that Toxic Shock Syndrome is a bacterial infection and both of which could cause organ damage. Doctors have said that there is a possibility in Jake’s case the bacterial infection had managed to take such a hold on Jake because of his chicken pox.

I sat and watched every bit of medication they put into my boy and every bit of fluid they drained off with his body being so swollen.  I was too scared to leave him in case something happened and I wasn’t there.  A few days later the swelling started to go down and for the first time he started to look like my son again and finally I felt like there was hope.

Five days later Jake was brought out of his coma.  I was really worried about the effect it may have had on him.  Would his sight be affected? Could he hear us?  Would he be the active little boy he was before?  Doctors were happy that he was responding well to treatment and he was transferred back to our local hospital where he spent two weeks before being allowed home.

I can’t tell you how thankful I am that I have my little boy back – the only reminder of how close we came to losing him is the scars from the chicken pox.  I’m glad I trusted my instincts and moved him into my room to keep an eye on him; getting him to the hospital quickly as the outcome could have been so different.

Now, I want to do all that I can to raise awareness of Toxic Shock Syndrome and Septicaemia so that other families know what to look out for. 

Read more on Septicaemia

Read more on Toxic Shock Syndrome