Mother thanks paramedics who helped save her son from serious infection

Shauna and Fox Tate with paramedic Amy Hammerton and student paramedic Michael Bucher of the East of

Shauna and Fox Tate with paramedic Amy Hammerton and student paramedic Michael Bucher of the East of England Ambulance Service. Picture from Adam Gretton. - Credit: Archant

The mother of a two-year-old who was rushed to hospital after contracting sepsis has been reunited with the paramedics who saved him.

Shauna Tate's son Fox was suffering from an ear infection on Good Friday this year when his condition worsened and she called 111 for help.

An ambulance was sent to her home in Shadwell, near Thetford, and the paramedics took Mrs Tate and Fox, who his mother described as being 'pale and floppy', to West Suffolk Hospital.

On route they told the 25-year-old that her son was presenting many symptoms of sepsis, however doctors at the hospital diagnosed him with a viral infection and discharged him.

By Easter Sunday morning Mrs Tate said Fox had become 'incredibly unwell'. In the early hours of the morning he was rushed back to West Suffolk Hospital and diagnosed with invasive group A streptococcal (GAS) disease. He underwent an operation at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge to remove fluid from his elbow and narrowly avoided muscle damage in his legs.

Mrs Tate said: 'I probably wouldn't have taken Fox back if the paramedics had not been so sure it was sepsis. One of them said to me when we got into the ambulance that it was sepsis and that put the word into my mind. I took him back because of her.'

At Addenbrooke's Fox was given a blood test for C-reactive protein, which indicates inflammation or infection, and got a reading of 316mg/L - a healthy average is between five and 10 mg/L.

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He was put on a six-week course of intravenous antibiotics and for two weeks Mrs Tate drove him to West Suffolk Hospital every day for this treatment until she was taught by staff how to administer it herself.

On Tuesday Mrs Tate and Fox were reunited with student paramedic Michael Bucher and paramedic Amy Hammerton, from the East of England Ambulance Service, who rushed him to hospital that night.

Mrs Tate said: 'I am so grateful for your confidence and honesty. It could have been too late and it wasn't. We will always be thankful.'

Fox is now on the road to recovery and has suffered no long-lasting effects from his illness, but Mrs Tate said she and husband Mick, a gamekeeper on the Shadwell Estate, have to 'get him checked over and err on the side of caution with antibiotics' if he picks up any infection, as he is more vulnerable to blood infections.

She believes parents and medical professionals need to be more aware of the symptoms of sepsis, which causes around 10,000 preventable deaths a year.

'The symptoms of a virus are so similar to those of sepsis, but you are made to feel guilty if you take your child to the doctors or to hospital if they have a virus. They kept lecturing me, but if there is something that doesn't seem right, follow your instincts because you know your child best.

'Fox was on antibiotics for his ear infection, but the way he was falling in and out of sleep didn't seem right to me. When the paramedics came they said it was absolutely an ambulance job.'

She praised the staff who first treated Fox at West Suffolk Hospital but said they may 'need more training in sepsis awareness,' she said.

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