A ‘perfectly healthy’ baby died just five hours after his parents noticed he had developed a rash under his arm.
Fourteen-month-old Arthur Keeling had been happily playing with his two sisters at their home in Silverdale, Stoke-on-Trent when he became unwell.
Mum, Georgia and dad, Darren noticed he’d developed a slight temperature and became tired.
They soothed him with Calpol, but it was only when changing his nappy that they noticed the purple rash and rang 111 for medical advice, reports Stoke-on-Trent Live .
Darren, 27, said: “They sent an ambulance to us. The paramedics took him to hospital on blue lights.”
Arthur was taken to Royal Stoke University hospital where he had fluids pumped into him and was put on a machine to help him breathe.
But despite medical intervention, Arthur took a dramatic turn for the worse, forcing doctors to revive him several times using CPR.
It turned out he had sepsis and the infection had spread rapidly.
“He just wasn’t strong enough to pull through,” said Darren. “The doctors fought for at least one-and-a-half hours to save him in intensive care.”
Arthur died on January 14 and his family got to say their final goodbyes at The Donna Louise, a children’s and young people’s hospice.
His family are now raising funds for the hospice and have so far collected more than £1,000. Another GoFundMe page has also been set up by Arthur’s uncle Dan to help cover the funeral costs.
Arthur, who had been a healthy baby up until he developed sepsis, was known for his happy nature.
My son died while I was battling breast cancer and it almost destroyed me
“He could brighten up anyone’s day,” added customer services worker Darren. “He had a cheeky smile on his face that said it all. We used to call him a little chunky monkey.
“He was too perfect. He would sleep all through the night. He loved his food and was always happy.”
Darren and 22-year-old Georgia are now trying to come to terms with their son’s death. Their twin daughters, two-year-old Martha and Nancy, have also been missing their brother.
“They know Arthur isn’t here and they ask for him. They say ‘he’s in the sky’. I’m grateful my daughters aren’t that age to go through all that emotional knowing.”
The family now hope to raise awareness of sepsis so other parents look for tell-tale signs. Symptoms can include a child’s skin being abnormally cold to touch, a mottled or bluish appearance, a rash that doesn’t fade when pressed, lethargy, vomiting and rapid breathing.
Sepsis: The facts
■ Sepsis affects 250,000 people in the UK and kills 44,000 per year. That’s more than bowel, breast and prostate cancer and road accidents combined.
■ Sepsis is the body’s often deadly response to an infection.
■ Initially, it can look like flu or a chest infection, but it can swiftly get serious.
■ Seek medical help urgently if you develop any one of the following…
– are lethargic or difficult to wake
– feel abnormally cold to touch
– the skin looks mottled, bluish or pale
– are breathing very fast
– have a rash that does not fade when you press it
– have a fit or convulsion
Darren will be attending today’s Stoke City match against Preston, where he will be wearing a specially designed ‘Arthur 1 son’ shirt.
Stoke fans are planning a round of applause for Arthur in the 14th minute. The timing marks both the day he died and his 14 months of life.
Dan Keeling is also involved in the efforts to raise awareness of sepsis in his nephew’s memory.
The 29-year-old, from Blurton , said: “If I can give you anything to take away from this experience, it’s that you simply must follow your gut.
“There was, unfortunately, nothing they could have done to help him. In the space of five hours, he was gone.”
Arthur’s funeral will take place at Silverdale’s Elim Church on February 7 at 12.45pm. It will be followed by a celebration of his life.
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