The mother of a 5-year-old boy is speaking out after he was misdiagnosed with diabetes instead of sepsis and later died, the Mirror reports.
At an inquest in South Yorkshire, England, on Monday, 28-year-old Laura Turner recalled how her son, Shay, vomited every time he drank and had dark circles around his eyes in the days leading to his death on April 3, 2018.
Turner, who also shares a 9-year-old son with her husband, Martyn, said she took Shay to Rotherham General Hospital, where he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and reportedly given the wrong dosage of insulin. He was then transferred to Sheffield Children's Hospital after his condition worsened.
"I recall Shay took a turn for the worse, which is when I believe the insulin started to take effect," Turner said. "I have a number of concerns about the care, which was provided to Shay. I feel that sepsis was never considered as a diagnosis."
The 5-year-old patient allegedly experienced swelling in his stomach and underwent surgery to remove his bowls. A CT scan later revealed that he had also suffered a brain injury. Four days later, his parents decided to remove the boy from life support. According to Shay's autopsy report, he died from multiple organ failure from an unknown cause that had led to a bowel infection and cause sepsis.
"We relive every moment of his death, and it's left a huge void in our hearts. The amount of joy, love and laughter he brought us in five years is immeasurable," his mother said at the inquest. "Now, we are living in a nightmare we will never wake from. We are a shadow of our former selves."
Laura said she believes the prescribed dosage of insulin Shay received from Rotherham ultimately killed her younger son, though she can't say for certain.
"He was in a compromised position and, therefore, was less likely to cope with the overdose," she said. "I feel incredibly let down by the hospital by the manner in which they treated my son. The family have been left devastated, destroyed, heartbroken by the loss of Shay."
Dr. Daniel du Plassis, a forensic neuropathologist, however, disputed Laura's claim that her son may have died of an insulin overdose. While acknowledging that Shay's brain injury was the result of a lack of blood and oxygen supply, he said it was highly unlikely that the prescribed dosage was to blame.
"I have no doubt that there was an excess of insulin given but it would appear that it was not long enough and severe enough to cause significant brain damage," he explained. "There was no evidence the brain damage was a result of an overdosage of insulin."
Forensic pathologist Charles Wilson agreed, claiming that there was no evidence that proved that the overdosage led to the 5-year-old's death. Still, Wilson admitted that he would not rule out that sepsis may have caused the child's organ failure and said he would change Shay's cause of death if necessary.
The boy's death is one of several cases in the United Kingdom where children have died due to misdiagnoses. In August, the family of a 3-year-old girl came forward after she was repeatedly misdiagnosed with constipation and eventually died of a rare cancer. The mother of another 3-year-old girl also recently shared a similar story.