Chatteris lad's story could help other families
A Fenland mum is hoping to raise awareness of a rare inflammatory disease linked to coronavirus which left her son fighting for his life.
Chatteris family, The Tibbles, had their lives turned upside down when son Liam (8) became unwell in May with paediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome temporarily associated with SARS-CoV-2 pandemic (PIMS-TS) - which led to doctors telling his mum Donna to “prepare for the worst”.
Donna hopes that by telling the family’s story she will be able to stop others from going through the same harrowing experience.
She said: “On the Friday night Liam developed a rash and had a temperature but it wasn’t too bad.
“He has respiratory problems, so we are used to dealing with his symptoms from that, but they are very similar to coronavirus symptoms. By Saturday morning he had developed a little cough and I couldn’t get his temperature down, so I called 111.”
After further conversations with 111 staff, and as the rash began to spread across Liam’s body while his temperature remained high, Donna started Liam on the medication he had been prescribed. However, the following night, thanks to her mother’s intuition, Donna realised Liam needed more help.
She said: “I wasn’t happy with how he was and I decided to take him to A&E at Hitchingbrooke Hosptial.
“At first they thought it was scarlet fever, so he had the COVID swab and other tests done. But as time went on he was deteriorating. His blood pressure kept going low, but his heart was racing and the rash and swelling was very bad.
“By Wednesday it was decided that he would need to be transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital by Clinical Assessment and Treatment Services (CATS).
“I was pleading with them to keep him alive. Never in a million years did I expect to go through this.”
Donna was told by doctors that it was uncertain whether Liam would survive and as CATS arrived to transfer him, he went into toxic shock syndrome.
Fearing he wouldn’t survive the journey to London, NHS staff transferred Liam to Addenbrooke’s Hospital where he spent four days in intensive care and further time on the COVID ward. But, thankfully, he managed to pull through and after two difficult weeks he returned home to his family.
Donna said: “He’s still got a way to go and we are all keeping a very close eye on him.
“Despite all of the shielding we did, his test results show that he has got the antibodies for coronavirus, so despite us being so cautious, he has had it - probably in the past without showing symptoms.
“If it wasn’t for the rash that Liam developed, I wouldn’t have realised what was happening.
“It didn’t feel raised and when you did the glass test it was fading but I knew it wasn’t right and acting on it saved his life.”
A Gofundme page has been set up to raise funds for the two hospitals who cared for Liam as Donna says she can’t thank the staff enough.
She said: “On the COVID ward you could see how exhausted all of the staff were, but they were amazing. In particular Dr Johnson at Hitchingbrooke - I owe everything to him.”
To donate to the fund which will go to Holly Ward at Hitchingbrooke Hospital and the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Addenbrooke’s, visit: www.gf.me/u/x3q5tg