Mum found girl 4, ‘frothing at mouth’ before she died from sepsis

A four-year-girl died from sepsis just hours after doctors missed major symptoms and sent her home with Calpol.

Kessie Thomas was rushed into Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford on April 9, 2017 with a high temperature, an elevated heart rate and she was also suffering from convulsions.

But staff at the hospital sent the little girl home the next day with some Calpol to bring her temperature down and Ibuprofen.

Her mother, Marie Thomas, became increasingly worried when Kessie's condition failed to improve so she took her back to the hospital's A&E on April 11.

Following a two hour wait in A&E, Kessie was seen by Dr Anjum but then suffered a cardiac arrest, which was caused by septicaemia.

An inquest held last year in November heard that she had shown "red flag" symptoms.

Dr Anjum said she was told the girl had gone to bed at 8pm the night before but her mum found her at 10pm “frothing at the mouth and rolling her eyes”.

She said she had considered sepsis as a possibility but as the child appeared to be improving, she was given “false reassurance”.

Kessie was moved to Evelina Children’s Hospital to receive specialist care but despite best efforts of the medics, she died later the same day after suffering severe brain damage.

The Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust have now apologised to Kessie's family after admitting "they did not get it right".

The trust said: "Losing a child at any time is tragic and we have looked in depth at the treatment Kessie received at the hospital in 2017.

"We acknowledge that we did not get it right for Kessie and have instituted several actions since to improve awareness, identification and treatment of sepsis. 

"We would like to send again our condolences and apologies to Kessie’s parents."

Sepsis: The facts

■ Sepsis affects 250,000 people in the UK and kills 44,000 per year. That’s more than bowel, breast and prostate cancer and road accidents combined.

■ Sepsis is the body’s often deadly response to an infection.

■ Initially, it can look like flu or a chest infection, but it can swiftly get serious.

■ Seek medical help urgently if you develop any one of the following…

– are lethargic or difficult to wake

– feel abnormally cold to touch

– the skin looks mottled, bluish or pale

– are breathing very fast

– have a rash that does not fade when you press it

– have a fit or convulsion

They admitted that staff did not follow the NICE guidelines which would have led to sepsis being a potential diagnosis.

Following Kessie's death, medical health lawyers Simpson Millar were brought in by the family to support them with their battle for answers.

Kessie's mum, Marie, 36, who lives in Surrey, said: “Nothing can compare to the death of a child.

"We have been left devastated by Kessie’s death and it is impossible to imagine how we will ever move on from what has happened.”

Rebecca Brunton, a medical law expert at Simpson Millar, said: "To have lost Kessie under such difficult circumstances has, understandably, left the family devastated.

"Since her death in 2017 they have been desperate for answers as to whether more could, and should, have been done to save their daughter – and an internal investigation carried out by the trust has identified a number of failings.

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