I thought my five-year-old son had a tummy ache – the truth almost killed him

A MUM has issued an urgent warning to parents after her five-year-old’s tummy ache turned out to be a ‘silent killer’ infection.

Katy Graham, 37, said she feared she would lose her son after he was struck down by a life-threatening case of sepsis.

Shay, 5,ay is luckily back on the road to making a full recovery


Shay, 5,ay is luckily back on the road to making a full recovery

Born with Cerebral Palsy, Shay defied doctors as a toddler by learning to walk and talk.

But the youngster’s recent life or death ordeal has led his mum Katy to caution parents on knowing how to spot the early signs of ‘hidden’ sepsis.

Katy and her husband Kev said they realised their son’s stomach ache was far worse than they first thought after he became limp and his eyes began to roll back in his head.

After coming down with a bowel infection, Shay rapidly developed sepsis, becoming unresponsive in the space of an afternoon.

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Speaking to Edinburgh Live, mum-of-two Katy said: “Shay my youngest son has cerebral palsy so we have been in and out of the Sick Kids hospital all his life.

“From birth, doctors said there will be things he is not able to do such as run, jump and walk but he is a fighter and he has defied them all.

“Apart from weakness in one arm you can’t tell about Shay’s condition he walks and runs about and he is almost able bodied.

“It was surreal to be there for something so unrelated to his condition.

“It came from a bowel infection, that afternoon he had a sore tummy and diarrhoea but by tea time he was lethargic and I thought his eyes were rolling to the back of his head.

“We decide within ten seconds something wasn’t right and sped to the hospital.

“In the car he was barely conscious and talking, and just looked really limp and weak.

“When we arrived at the Sick Kids he was taken straight out of my arms and onto a bed where they pumped lots of fluids into him.”

Despite receiving urgent, round-the-clock care after quickly deteriorating, at midnight the 5-year-old terrifyingly went into septic shock.

“This is when doctors said it was touch and go,” said his mum.

“He needed an operation but they didn’t know if his heart could handle going under the anaesthetic and it took two hours to decide.

“While we were waiting for news we were in a room thinking positive thoughts, praying, we went down to the chapel to pray and paced around the room.

“I did about 40,000 steps that day. Shay was put on a ventilator, and pumped up with drugs from all different tubes.

We didn’t know if he would make it through, it was the worst feeling ever

Katy Graham, 37

“In total we were in the hospital for 22 days, the first day we arrived Ronald McDonald House offered us a room in the hospital so we could stay with Shay.

“The rooms look like they are on a ward but are like hotel rooms, the room was gorgeous you are allocated a fridge and on weekends they gave us an extra bed so Cillian could stay too.

“I can’t thank them enough in such an awful situation there is almost nothing you can do to help but they managed to help us.”

Shay ended up spending three days on a ventilator, but has luckily been well on his way to making a full recovery as him mum says he has “done the impossible”.

Shay’s family are now raising money for the medical charities that helped the youngster pull through his battle with sepsis – the fundraising page can be found here.

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September is Sepsis Awareness Month in the UK, which aims to increase understanding of how to spot a deadly-sepsis infection.

Sepsis is the number one cause of preventable death in the world, and occurs when your immune system overreacts to an infection and starts to damage your body’s tissue and organs.

What are the signs of sepsis?

If you see anybody exhibiting these symptoms, seek emergency medical care – sepsis should be suspected

  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever and chills
  • Thirst
  • Difficult or rapid breathing
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Low urine output

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