An Ennistymon mother-of-three has appealed for people to make themselves aware of the signs of Sepsis following her daughter’s near death experience.
Audrey McGahon has warned parents and families not to take any chances, as in some cases there are no huge warning signs so it is vital not to wait.
The most commonly reported symptoms of Sepsis include slurred speech, confusion, excessive drowsiness; pain or discomfort in the muscles or joints, passing very little or no urine, severe breathlessness, a racing heart, shivering, fever and feeling very cold.
The skin of someone with Sepsis changes like pale, cold, discoloured skin or a rash that won’t fade when pressed on.
In children the signs to look out for include abnormally cold to the touch; looks mottled , bluish or pale; breathing very fast; is unusually sleepy and difficult to wake; has a rash that does not fade when you press it and having fits or convulsions
In February 2018, Audrey’s daughter Molly, then 12 years old, came home from school complaining of a slight sore throat that developed in to a slight fever later that evening.
Audrey recalled they were sent home from Shannondoc but decided to travel to University Hospital Limerick (UHL) for a second opinion as Molly was getting sleepier and experiencing increased pain.
In an interview with the Clare Champion, Audrey recalled they were later told by medics that Molly would have passed away before midnight if they hadn’t decided to travel to UHL.
It was only when Molly got to hospital a few hours later that septic shock was diagnosed by a nurse who recognised the symptoms.
“I didn’t think there was anything seriously wrong with Molly. I expected to go to UHL for an antibiotic and be told she is fine. People don’t expect teenagers to get Sepsis.
“Molly went into organ failure. All her organs basically were being attacked at the same time.
It was pretty shocking.
“During the night UHL had contacted Crumlin Children’s Hospital and Temple Street in Dublin. Doctors in UHL continued to work on Molly during the night to keep her stable.
“Molly was transferred from Limerick to Temple Street Children’s Hospital the following day.
“We were told to prepare ourselves; that she didn’t have long, so every minute, every beep from every machine seemed like a lifetime and that’s how the first four to five days went. Molly was put on dialysis, she had multi organ failure and was intubated for 21 days.
“Molly’s knees and ankles had protruded through her skin. It was just horrific,” she said.
While other teenagers had died in Temple Street from cardiac arrest, Molly’s heart exploded and medics had to work hard to slow it down.
According to medical textbooks, Audrey admitted that Molly shouldn’t have survived and doctors in Temple Street continue to follow her progress very closely.
While Molly, who is now 15, recovered from Sepsis, she has a lifelong chronic lung condition and had had multi surgeries on her feet after her ankles locked in a particular position.
This resulted in 21 pins being inserted in her leg from her ankle to her knee. Audrey and her husband, Noel had to follow a certain programme to get her heels in their proper position.
The couple are waiting on another procedure in Temple Street, which was cancelled last March to try and address difficulties with her feet.
She manages to walk on her toes through sheer determination and doesn’t want to be confined to a wheelchair.