How can anyone be so wrong?

Last week the pediatrician from the hospital came to visit us armed with William’s post-mortem report. Although we were given preliminary results 9 days after William died, these were not conclusive and subject to change. ‘Unusual, if not lucky’ they told us, apparently it’s unheard of to have any indication that early when someone dies unexpectedly. Lucky is not the word I would have used, I did not feel lucky at the time and I do not feel lucky now. Looking back I suppose relieved would have been a more appropriate word. I knew William had been poorly, but I was dreading them finding nothing wrong, life was already unbearable, but the thought of my little boy going to sleep and just not waking up was something I knew I just wouldn’t accept. However, after the doctors telling me that he was ‘ok’ and had nothing ‘grisly’ it was a concept that I had to prepare myself for.

In those 9 days every second was spent relentlessly questioning why? why had William died? The doctor on the Friday had told us it was probably just a reaction to the booster. On Saturday the 111 call handler deemed his condition as a non-emergency. Later that night the Serco doctor explained it was likely a virus, he will likely get better without treatment. So with William asleep in bed, we felt rest assured we were doing the right thing, we’d been told lots of times it was nothing serious and he’d be back to his normal self in 48 hours. I expected a very unsettled night but William slept through Saturday night with no fuss, wriggling around his cot to find the most peculiar position to sleep in as normal. When I checked on him he was sleeping soundly, snoring faintly and clutching his reindeer teddy, nothing out of the ordinary. At 5:10am when we checked on him he had settled himself back to sleep after having a drink, nothing unusual. 36 hours was Sunday morning. I never expected that when I went to check on him that he would be gone. My beautiful little boy, gone. How could this happen? What happened? Why had William died? Those agonising 9 days were a constant battle in my head, with every question that I asked myself I came to a different conclusion. Meticulously going over every last detail, not just over those 36 hours but during his whole life, all 382 days of it. Had I missed something?

The reality was I hadn’t missed anything, I had never missed an appointment to get William weighed, his injections were always on time, I even have a diary with the amount of milk William drank and the time of day he drank it from his birth until he was eating normal food. From the time when William had begun to be poorly at the end of September until his untimely passing I had visited the doctor on 6 different occasions, this was in addition to the telephone appointments. So no, I couldn’t have missed anything, could I? No, the truth of it is I didn’t, when William was poorly I took him to the doctor, when he didn’t get better, I persisted and took him again and again, sometimes seeing a different doctor. ‘It’s just a cough’, ‘his chest is clear’, ‘his ears are fine’. Just give him Calpol and Nurofen.

How wrong can anyone be? Well on Thursday we found out.

When I cradled William in my arms on the morning he was taken away to Birmingham for the post-mortem I whispered in his ear that he had a job to do, ‘you hold all the answers sweetheart, only you know what’s happened, please tell the doctors what happened, mummy needs to know. Mummy’s asked to come with you, but she’s not allowed. Please don’t be frightened, be a brave boy, mummy is so proud of you, and she is always with you and she loves you so much, mummy knows you can do it.’ My little boy did exactly that.

On that last trip to the doctors William had septicemia caused by Inasive Streptoccocal A bacteria. He had an empyema which is pus in the pleural cavity, the space outside of the lung, 200mls of toxic pus to be precise. He had an abscess in his left lung and a heavy ear infection with fluid in both ears. These were directly caused by a chest infection which developed into pneumonia. William’s chest was obviously not clear, William’s ears were clearly not ‘ok’, his cough was clearly not ‘just a cough’, and he did have something grisly, Septicemia, something about as profoundly grisly as you can get.

I can’t begin to explain the feeling, the feeling of utter disbelief, how something that started out so simple, so easy to treat, so easy to diagnose resulted in William losing his life. It’s incomprehensible. An investigation is already underway into his care, those directly involved will have to answer questions at the inquest but it doesn’t change things, it’s not good enough, it’s not acceptable, it doesn’t bring William back. I will be in pain for the rest of my life, there will always be a huge hole, something missing but that is nothing, nothing compared to my little boy losing his life, losing his future, losing our dreams. All taken away. There are no sufficient words to explain how I feel right now. My little boy robbed of his life, and us, robbed of ours.

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32 thoughts on “How can anyone be so wrong?

  1. I am so very sorry for your loss. Nobody should have to go through what you have and especially little William. I hope the doctors are held accountable for this so that other families don’t experience this. My 9 month old has been to and from the doctors since he was born with different things and he never gets diagnosed properly, the doctors never seem to care.

    Sending our wishes to you and your family at thus difficult time.

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  2. I’m deeply sorry for your loss! I understand that there are no words that can make you feel better about this. But know that your little boy is in heaven right now, somewhere that is safe and he’s not suffering anymore. He was very lucky to have you as his mommy who loved him so much. Please remember the fact that you will see him again. May God give you and your family strength and peace during this difficult time! Take care and lots of love to you all!

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  3. Currently sat in my car sobbing my heart out at this after reading it 😥 i dont even no what to say only mothers instinct is always right, and i would persuade everyone if you think your little ones not right please see a 2nd then a 3rd and even a 4th doctor if you still think your little one isnt getting better!!! I send all my love hope and prayers you will be fine, its something no can get over so im sending love and light to you hun xx

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    • You’re right, mum’s know best. We were just so unfortunate that we saw different doctors and on different occasions and it still wasn’t diagnosed, i don’t know how unlucky you can be 😦 x

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  4. This story is similar to mine. I too took my 3 year old daughter to the doctors after weeks of a cough & cold & told everything was clear. Only 8 days later we found her casping for breath & fitting. She died 4 days later. That was the 1/1/15 we’re still waiting on the post mortem results. I really really feel your pain loneliness & despair. Love & hugs.

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    • Although the post mortem results gave us the answers, it still doesn’t bring William back. No matter how many questions are answered, how much it is discussed I don’t think I will ever make peace with it, and I don’t think I should have to. I hope at least you get the answers you need, it like our situation doesn’t change anything though xxx

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  5. I know this won’t help you but I am a UK GP and intend to remind everyone at the sessional group tonight to think more carefully and tell them of Grumpus. I am seeing your blog as I was a Hong Kong Mom once upon a time.

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    • Thank you, I hope if nothing else, writing my blog brings awareness. I understand people don’t make mistakes on purpose but there will be a lot of learning to come from William’s death xx

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  6. So sorry to hear of your loss. I too have an angel baby & despite all the answers I still ask the question why. Thought & love are with you at this awful time xx

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  7. I am so very sorry for what has happened. I am not even sure how I stumbled onto your blog, but as I have read your posts, I have been saying “me too.” I am so terribly sorry. My 6-year-old son just died in February, also from Strep A sepsis. The “why”s haunt me …

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  8. Words are not enough to express my feelings for you Melissa. I hope the love of all your family and friends, including everyone who reads your blogs will help you.
    xx Mitzi

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  9. Please know you never mourn alone – please know that every person who reads your story aches with you and cries with you. You are never alone and always loved. I’m so sorry for this immense tragedy, this intense pain and the physical separation from the one you love so fully and deeply and beautifully. Your words to him were beyond beautiful and heartbreaking. We are all connected and we ache with you. We all wish we can make this different. Sending you and your family infinite love. I’m sorry for this most unfixable brokenness. :(. Your boy was clearly so loved and blessed to have you as momma, and forever is. I know this means nothing, but my tony but of gratefulness is that he passed safe and loved in his comfortable space of his bed cuddling his special toy, being checked on my his loving and doting momma. We all wish to be loved and safe. I have no doubt your boy felt nothing else than that from you

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    • Thank you for those lovely words. People have said although William should never have passed away, at least he was warm, safe and in his own bed. I’m just in an utter state of shock and disbelief, it is the physical separation that hurts the most xx

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  10. Words cannot even begin to express the sorrow you are feeling. I just want to reach across the miles and give you a hug. Yes, knowing the reason why does nothing to take away the pain and anguish of losing your beautiful, beautiful son, and he is so very beautiful.

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  11. I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my twin daughter at 24 days old in the NICU. She never came home from the hospital. All my daughter knew was pain in her short life. I think no matter the circumstances of a child’s death it is horrible and should not happen. You were so diligent and caring of your son. It breaks my heart that the doctors were not more thorough in your son’s care. I am a little over a year out from losing my daughter on December 9th, 2013, but to me it feels like it was just a moment ago. People say the most awful things to parent’s who have lost a child. They don’t mean to be hurtful but they are. There are no words to comfort a mother who has lost her child.

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    • That is exactly it, today is 4 months since I lost William, it feels like a lifetime ago, because I haven’t held him in that long, but on the other hand it feels like only yesterday that I lost him. It’s just the worst feeling in the world. I am sorry you lost your little daughter, i know the NICU is hard xx

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