Chloe Christopher’s grieving mum wants others to recognise the signs of sepsis.
A grieving mother has described how she performed CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) on her daughter as she died from sepsis.
Chloe Christopher, 17, from Cwmaman, died on New Year’s Eve in 2014 after collapsing in front of her terrified family with the illness.
Her mum Michelle said hearing the words ‘Mam, I’m frightened, I don’t feel very well’ will stay with her forever.
She then had to perform CPR on her daughter after she suffered a cardiac arrest.
The distraught mother has been describing what happened that devastating night to help others learn to recognise the signs of the deadly infection.
It was thought that Aberdare Community School student Chloe was suffering a chest infection at the time.
She was a little lethargic with some aches and pains, but it seemed nothing to worry about.
In a new film produced by the Welsh Ambulance Service, Michelle said: ” It was Christmas week and Chloe seemed to have what we thought was a cold or maybe the start of a chest infection.
“She spent one evening with one of her closest friends laughing and joking and looking forward to New Year’s Eve celebrations, as they were going to a fancy dress party.
“They were both together as Chloe rapidly deteriorated. It was so sudden; one minute laughing and joking, the next she said she felt unwell and a bit scared.
“She then collapsed in front of us. Hearing the words ‘Mam, I’m frightened, I don’t feel very well’ will stay with me forever.
“I phoned for the emergency services immediately and even though we didn’t know what was happening, we knew it was serious.
“Chloe suffered a cardiac arrest in front of us, and having to try and perform CPR on your own daughter was indescribable.
“The emergency staff were amazing, and tried their utmost to save Chloe but to no avail.”
Sepsis occurs when the body’s response to an infection injures its own tissues and organs, and it can lead to shock, multiple organ failure and death, especially if not recognised early.
Michelle said: “The first time we heard of sepsis was at Chloe’s inquest five months later.
“We heard that Chloe had signs of a urine infection which turned to sepsis, led to multi-organ failure and then cardiac arrest.
“Since Chloe’s passing, it’s been my passion to raise awareness and to help educate the public on the signs of sepsis.”
The family has raised £1,100 for the Sepsis Trust since Chloe’s death with a series of fundraising events in their local community.
It is estimated that sepsis kills around 44,000 people a year, which is bigger than breast, bowel and prostate cancer put together.
Michelle added: “If caught early, sepsis can be treatable, so they key message is education, knowledge and awareness and to just ask ‘could this be sepsis?’
“By doing this, it helps keep our beautiful Chloe’s memory alive, hoping that maybe we can save a family going through what we have.”
The Welsh Ambulance Service uses the National Early Warning Score (NEWS) tool to identify whether a patient is suffering from sepsis.
NEWS looks at seven factors, including blood pressure, pulse rate, respiratory rate, oxygensaturation, level of consciousness, temperature and whether the patient is receiving supplemental oxygen.
Under its new Clinical Response Model, made permanent in February 2017, the Welsh Ambulance Service is measured against the number of suspected sepsis patients who have had a documented NEWS score.
Between July and September 2017, this was 102 out of 104 (98.1 per cent) patients across Wales.
The Welsh Ambulance Service is calling on people to seek help immediately if they suspect the signs of sepsis.
Andy Swinburn, the Trust’s assistant director of Paramedicine, said: “Sepsis is a serious condition that can initially look like flu, gastroenteritis or a chest infection.
“If you develop slurred speech or confusion, extreme shivering or muscle pain, severe breathlessness, mottled skin or you have trouble passing urine, it could be sepsis and you must seek medical help immediately – it could mean the difference between life and death.”
For more information about sepsis, visit the UK Sepsis Trust website.