Mum’s warning after her son almost dies from silent killer

Sepsis: Dr Chris reveals how to reduce risk of infection

The mother of a boy who almost died from a silent killer disease is sharing a warning to other parents after he was initially given Gaviscon for reflux.

Baby Ash first became ill in September 2021 when he was just six weeks old. When his mum, Hannah Charman, took him to the doctor they initially said he had reflux and was given Gaviscon.

Two days later, Ash turned yellow but this was put down to newborn jaundice.

He began to deteriorate and was cold to the touch with fewer wet nappies than usual and was staring at one spot.

Hannah had a gut feeling that something was wrong and they needed to get help. Ash was rushed to A&E where it was discovered that he had sepsis, a condition that kills 11 million people every year globally.

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In a warning to other parents, Hannah told the UK Sepsis Trust: “If you are worried, speak to someone. And if you are still worried after that, speak to someone else.”

On arrival at A&E, Ash was admitted immediately where it found he had sepsis, a possible UTI and his liver and kidney were shutting down.

Hannah said: “We got blue-lighted after the first 24 hours to a specialist unit in a different hospital and that’s when we realised actually this is very, very serious.”

For the next two weeks, Ash stayed in the hospital and underwent tests to see if he had a condition that made him vulnerable to infections.

Staying at the hospital during Covid restrictions was “awful” and “very, very lonely” for Hannah who added: “All the noises felt like a war zone. It was just very traumatic, and you have to do it all by yourself and be strong for your child.”

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Now aged one and a half, Ash is a “very happy” child.

Hannah said: “You wouldn’t even know how ill he was when he was a newborn. He’s into climbing and cars and all sorts of things.”

She’s now warning other parents to recognise the signs of sepsis which occurs when the body overreacts to an infection and starts to damage the body’s own tissues and organs.

It can be deadly and is notoriously hard to spot due to the vagueness of the symptoms, which can be like flu or a chest infection, according to the NHS.

Hannah said: “You have regular midwife appointments and antenatal classes but it’s never mentioned, even as a precaution.

“You don’t want to panic anyone, but the information should be there as a consideration if something does go wrong.”

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