Fifteen-month-old Isla McLoughlin-Clegg was “floppy and unresponsive” but paramedics refused to take her to hospital
A mum has said her 15-month-old daughter almost died because a paramedic refused to take her to hospital when she was battling deadly blood poisoning.
Isla McLoughlin-Clegg was “floppy and unresponsive” when an out-of-hours doctor called an ambulance to take her hospital.
But her furious mum Rachel says the paramedic who arrived at the family home in Blacon, Chester, was adamant that Isla had nothing more than a harmless viral infection and should be kept away from hospital.
But the toddler was so poorly her her internal organs were shutting down and she spent four days on life support.
Ambulance bosses have now launched a full investigation into the incident.
An out-of-hours doctor called an ambulance for Isla, pictured with her mum Rachel (Image: cascadenews.co.uk)
Mum-of-five Rachel, 40, says the paramedic argued for 10 minutes with the out-of-hours GP service that had called the ambulance, before he eventually relented.
When Isla finally made it to the Countess of Chester’s A&E department, a nurse took one look at her and immediately called for the resuscitation team.
She had contracted sepsis and septicaemia, a blood infection, which were causing her internal organs to shut down.
Isla was given emergency antibiotics and put on a ventilator before spending four days with specialists at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.
Rachel said: “If I’d followed the paramedic’s advice, Isla wouldn’t be here today.
“I don’t know who that nurse was but she saved my daughter’s life. The team at the Countess were amazing; it was a miracle what they did for Isla.”
Isla was treated at the Countess of Chester Hospital (Image: PA)
She said she had called the out-of-hours GP service at the City Walls Medical Centre in Chester at around 12.30pm on Sunday, August 13, after Isla began displaying worrying symptoms.
She was becoming “limp, floppy and unresponsive”, and kept falling asleep. Miss McLoughlin also noticed a small purple spot had appeared on her baby’s neck.
After describing the symptoms, the doctor told her it sounded serious and an ambulance would be despatched immediately to take Isla to hospital.
Around 15 to 20 minutes later, a paramedic from North West Ambulance Service arrived at her home on Lloyd Place in a fast response vehicle and went upstairs to see Isla.
Miss McLoughlin, 40, said she was astonished when he suggested her baby simply had a virus and shouldn’t be taken to hospital.
He then called the GP surgery on his mobile phone, arguing first with the receptionist and then with Isla’s mum about where the tot should be taken.
“He was saying she just had a viral infection and why do I think she needs to go to hospital where she might spread the infection?,” Miss McLoughlin said.
Rachel says she spent 10 minutes arguing with the paramedic (Image: E+)
“I explained I’d called the out-of- hours GP but he said he didn’t think she needs to go to hospital. All this time, it turns out my daughter was slipping away.”
After about 10 minutes he relented and took mum and baby to the Countess, warning that they faced a lengthy wait in A&E.
But minutes after arriving a nurse spotted Isla and called for an emergency response team.
“They were amazing,” Miss McLoughlin said. “One of the nurses told me later that they could see sepsis developing in front of their eyes and it was a race against time.”
Isla was stabilised at the Countess before being transferred to Alder Hey where she spent four days. She was then moved back to the Chester hospital for a further three days. She’s now fighting fit.
Miss McLoughlin said she wanted to warn other parents about the dangers of sepsis and also raised concerns about the NHS’s high-profile message about relieving pressure on hospitals.
“I know they’re trying to get the message across about not going to hospital unless it’s absolutely necessary but this was clearly necessary,” said Miss McLoughlin, who works as a chef at a nursery.
“I didn’t want to be arguing the toss with him about whether my daughter needs to be taken to hospital, especially when it was a doctor who called the ambulance. He should just have done what that doctor said.”
She added: “I can’t fault the care and compassion from the teams at the Countess and Alder Hey – and I can’t thank them enough.”
A spokesman for North West Ambulance Service said: “We’re glad to hear Isla’s now back on the mend and very sorry to hear her family are not happy with the care and advice she received from us.
“We do take complaints of this nature very seriously and urge Isla’s family to get in contact with our patient experience team who will do a full investigation into the incident.”
Although sepsis is often referred to as either blood poisoning or septicaemia, these terms refer to the invasion of bacteria into the bloodstream.
Sepsis can affect multiple organs or the entire body, even without blood poisoning or septicaemia.
Sepsis can also be caused by viral or fungal infections, although bacterial infections are by far the most common cause.
Go straight to A&E or call 999 if your child has any of these symptoms:
Looks mottled, bluish or pale
Is very lethargic or difficult to wake
Feels abnormally cold to touch
Is breathing very quickly
Has a rash that does not fade when pressed
Has a fit or convulsion