Upminster mum shares ‘traumatic’ story of 15-month-old daughter following World Sepsis Day

PUBLISHED: 15:00 14 September 2018 | UPDATED: 13:08 20 September 2018

To mark World Sepsis Day, Laura Staples from Upminster shared her own experience when her 15-month-old daughter Hayley had sepsis in July this year.

To mark World Sepsis Day, Laura Staples from Upminster shared her own experience when her 15-month-old daughter Hayley had sepsis in July this year.


An Upminster mum has shared the “traumatic” experience of when her 15-month-old daughter had a serious infection to mark World Sepsis Day.

Sepsis can be very difficult to diagnose as it often hides behind common illnesses such as flu or gastroenteritis.

Laura Staples, 34, took her 15-month-old daughter Hayley, to the emergency department after finding out that Hayley had a urine infection.

“She’d not been right for a few days. She had a high temperature, over 40 degrees, wasn’t eating and was barely drinking apart from breastfeeding,” said Laura.

“As the staff were trying to do some tests on her, she nosedived.

“Her temperature rocketed, her skin was mottled and her fingers and toes were blue and she was sick all over herself then went limp and floppy.

“It was really traumatic. I knew it was serious when we were bombarded with medical staff.

“I’d never seen her so ill and it was really upsetting as usually she doesn’t keep still.”

Staff at Queen’s Hospital tried different antibiotics and Hayley had various scans and a lumbar puncture to check for meningitis.

The mum-of-three added: “I stayed the whole time and I found the team were really great, not only with looking after Hayley, but making sure I was okay too.

“I got through it on adrenaline but I cried all afternoon when she got home.

“I think it was my gut instinct that I knew something was wrong, and I found the staff to be really reassuring and didn’t make me feel stupid.

“My advice to anyone else is if you’re not sure, get it checked.”

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospital’s NHS Trust which runs Queen’s Hospital in Rom Valley Way has its own sepsis protocol, an electronic algorithm for identifying sepsis in children.

The first of its kind in the UK, the system prompts nurses to ask extra questions when a child is first brought in.

It generates a score and creates priority alerts for cases where it’s more likely to be sepsis. This ensures doctors see that child as a priority and can start treatment immediately if they do have sepsis.

Sylvester Gomes, paediatric emergency consultant and the Trust’s paediatric sepsis lead, said: “Sepsis can be hard to diagnose from other fevers, many of which are caused by coughs and colds. Finding sepsis in a child can be like finding a needle in a haystack.

“We started using the algorithm in June this year and so far it’s been very accurate.

“My ultimate goal is to develop a standardised system for use in all hospitals in the country.”

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