Melissa Mead, 29, experienced the unimaginable when her 12-month-old little boy died of sepsis in December of 2014. The doting mother from England relied on the country’s nationalized healthcare system for medical treatment. However, Mead says the National Health System failed her and her son ultimately leading to his death.
— ITV News (@itvnews) April 1, 2016
The Daily Mail reports that 29-year-old Melissa Mead called the NHS after-hours “111 number” when her 12-month-old son William began having startling symptoms. However, instead of sound medical advice, Mead says the 111 operator, who had no medical experience, read from a script, which ultimately resulted in her son’s death as she was told to give him plenty of fluids and Tylenol instead of being told to seek medical attention.
“The 12-month-old had developed an abscess in his left lung caused by the bacterial infection streptococcus A. But had the out-of-hours service advised Melissa to take William immediately to hospital he could still be alive today.”
However, Melissa notes that the abscess and infection remained uncovered by medical staff on three previous visits to the local clinic highlighting an overall issue with diagnosis outside of the 111 operator’s failure to recognize the symptoms and treat him appropriately. In fact, Melissa says he was misdiagnosed with tonsillitis after he presented with a “chesty cough” in September of 2014. Just one day later he would be diagnosed with scarlet fever and given more antibiotics. A month later, when doctors still heard “crackles” in his chest, they prescribed an inhaler. Despite all of the child’s problems, doctors gave the infant his one-year booster vaccines just six days before his death.
Following the tragic experience, Mead has been outspoken about the NHS and the changes needed to ensure a similar situation doesn’t happen to another mother. Melissa knew it would be difficult to have another child after William as she has suffered from ovarian tumors since age 11. As a result of her tumor treatments, Melissa was left with only half and ovary and a slim chance of fertility. Despite all odds, Melissa Mead informed the staff at Good Morning Britain that she is expecting another child and that William will be a big brother soon.
Following William’s tragic death, Melissa had her son cremated and she carries his ashes inside of a teddy bear doll. In honor of her new pregnancy, Melissa put a t-shirt on the teddy bear that read “I am being promoted to big brother.” With the emotional wounds still fresh, Melissa put emphasis on the fact that her next child will know about his or her big brother and that William’s memory will live on.
“We are expecting our second child. We can’t wait to tell the new baby all about his wonderful big brother – his or hers.”
As tragic as William’s death was for the family, Melissa says that, following the death, she has been in contact with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and is speaking with him about how to prevent this from happening to another family in the future. Additionally, Melissa wants to ensure other new parents know the symptoms of sepsis so that they can seek medical care on their own if the NHS fails again.
‘Paul [Melissa’s husband] and I are trying to channel our grief into something positive to create a long-lasting legacy for William, to keep his memory alive. It is wonderful for us to see change and know it has been by effected by our child. William’s case highlights how it was missed by primary carers, doctors, the people we turn to and trust for advice. We need to educate parents and adults in the community as that is where it is being missed.”
— Melissa Mead (@amotherwithout) January 26, 2016
What do you think about Melissa Mead’s advocacy for parents in Britain receiving care from the National Health Service to better understand sepsis symptoms in the case that doctors or medical professionals miss the signs?
[Image via Just Giving]