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'The fear in her eyes will live with us forever' - dad relives moment his daughter almost died from asthma attack

Stuart Sansbury with his daughter Tilly. Pic: Courtesy of Stuart Sansbury.

Stuart Sansbury with his daughter Tilly. Pic: Courtesy of Stuart Sansbury.

Stuart Sansbury

“The fear in her eyes will live with us forever” - a year on from an asthma attack which nearly killed his five-year-old daughter, a father has relived the terrifying moment as he looks to raise awareness of the condition.

Stuart Sansbury is running the London Marathon for Asthma UK. Pic: Courtesy of Stuart Sansbury.Stuart Sansbury is running the London Marathon for Asthma UK. Pic: Courtesy of Stuart Sansbury.

Stuart Sansbury hailed medical staff who saved his little girl’s life, from the paramedic to air ambulance staff and the team at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Police officer Mr Sansbury, who lives in mid-Norfolk, said, on March 26 last year, his daughter began sneezing and coughing and was tired and wheezy.

Tilly was taken to the GP the next day, where she was assessed with a chest infection and was probably an undiagnosed asthmatic. She was given an inhaler and antibiotics and asked to return for a full assessment when feeling better.

But Mr Sansbury said: “Mid-afternoon Tilly was struggling to breathe and talk, so I called an ambulance and my wife Hayley rushed home from work.

A fundraising event will be held at Poringland Community Centre. Pic: Stuart Sansbury.A fundraising event will be held at Poringland Community Centre. Pic: Stuart Sansbury.

“Tilly was really struggling - her shoulders were raising, and her stomach and throat were pulling in with minimal noise, as no air was getting in and she had difficulty expelling.

“The fear in her eyes will stay with us forever. She was rapidly becoming blue around her mouth from lack of oxygen and we struggled to keep her responsive.”

A paramedic helped with medication, but called the East Anglian Air Ambulance because she was deteriorating so much.

The air ambulance crew stabilised her and flew her to the NNUH. But Mr Sansbury said her condition took another dip and, eight minutes from the hospital, the doctor said his daughter’s life was at great risk.

At hospital, she was taken straight to the resuscitation area, where the team used a piece of equipment never used on a five-year-old before, to push oxygen into her system and suck out carbon dioxide.

Tilly responded well and was released after a four-day stay in hospital, with a combination of steroids, oxygen, intravenous fluids and medication. She now has an asthma diagnosis, with medication and an action plan.

Mr Sansbury said: “We have gradually been building her back up to her activities and she is now back to doing everything she did before. Based on what happened both my wife Hayley and I are passionate about raising awareness of asthma.”

Mr Sansbury is looking to raise £1,800 for the charity Asthma UK after the experience his family have had with the condition.

He is running the London Marathon on Sunday, April 28, with proceeds going to the charity. His Just Giving page is at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/stusansbury

He has also organised a fundraising event at Poringland Community Centre at 7.30pm on Friday, April 19. Mr Sansbury used to be police beat manager for Poringland.

The event will feature Queen tribute act Flash, with £15 tickets available at poringlandcc@gmail,com, via 07770 351794 or from the centre at Overtons Way.

Asthma UK funds research to help stop asthma attacks and to cure the condition. It also supports people with asthma to reduce their risk of a potentially life threatening attack.

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