The 'brash' action of a worried mother saved the life of a one-year-old Welsh girl who nearly died of sepsis. Rachael Pedrick, the mother of the sick child, barged into the doctor's room at the GP surgery that had not returned her call requesting an appointment for her daughter for eight hours.
Holly, the sick toddler was operated upon at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff later. The surgery was successful and the toddler is said to be making a quick recovery. But the ordeal that Holly and her mother experienced was harrowing.
Reaching out for an appointment
Holly's 26-year-old mother reached out to a GP surgery on 23 December, seeking an appointment for her. The little girl had severe flu-like symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting, along with 'sticky eyes', the accumulation of yellow or white discharge at the corner of the eyes.
However, Pedrick was asked to wait for a call back as an appointment could not be booked at the time. Eight hours passed and Holly's condition remained grim. It was then that her mother jumped into action. She arrived at the GP surgery and barged into the doctor's room, prompting the doctor to examine Holly. After examination, the doctor asked Pedrick to rush her daughter to Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr immediately.
"After eight hours I was still waiting. In the end I went to the doctor's myself, walked into the doctor's room and the doctor ran straight over to her, checked her over and said she needs to go to Prince Charles as soon as possible," said Pedrick to Wales Online.
The diagnosis: Sepsis
The child spent a night at Prince Charles Hospital. However, when her condition did not improve, she was darted to University Hospital of Wales on Christmas Eve. It was here that Holly was diagnosed with sepsis and skin infection cellulitis.
Her condition had progressed to a point where the doctors had to carry out an emergency two-hour surgery in order to save her life. They cut through her nose to drain to the abscess that had grown behind her eyes. "She was out of it for four days, lifeless. I couldn't pick her up because she was attached to loads of things. She was in and out. I don't know what was going through my head," said Pedrick.
What is sepsis?
Sepsis is the aggressive response of the body's immune system to a bacterial infection. Amounts of counteractive chemicals, much higher than during a normal response, are released into the bloodstream. This imbalance can lead to multiple organ failure eventually. The symptoms range from muscle pain to slurred speech to nausea, and more. Thus, it can be mistaken for other sicknesses. If left untreated, the condition can spiral into a septic shock and eventually result in death.
Making a recovery
When Pedrick learned of the severity of Holly's condition, she was shocked. "The hospital staff phoned me and said if I hadn't taken her to the doctor's then she would be dead," said the mother. After having spent Christmas at the hospital, Holly is back home. She is on medication and is on the road to making a complete recovery.
GP surgery responds
A spokesperson for the GP surgery averred that they take the practice offering appointments to children seriously, but refused to comment on "individual" cases.
"If a staff member receiving a call has any concerns based on the information provided, then it is standard practice to advise that the child be seen by a GP and subsequently to offer an appointment, which patients (or patient representatives) can then choose whether to accept or not," she said.