THE parents of a brave six-year-old girl who nearly lost her life and underwent a quadruple amputation after contracting sepsis have warned families to trust their gut feeling.
Mia Wilkinson, from Brisbane, Australia, was misdiagnosed with influenza and sent home from hospital twice in October 2017 before the deadly blood poisoning was found.
Within 48 hours of leaving the hospital, Mia, then only four years old, was left fighting for her life when the infection spread through her entire body.
After her hands and feet began to blacken and shrivel due to a lack of oxygen, doctors were left with no choice but to amputate all four of the youngster's limbs.
Now two years on, her parents Peter, 42, and Amy, 40, are speaking out to warn families about the 'silent killer' in the wake of a fatal flu epidemic occurring across Australia.
Due to appear on talk show Sunday Night True Stories on July 14, the couple have revealed how Mia was misdiagnosed twice, despite their 'instinct' that there was something gravely wrong.
Having complained all day about her sore tummy, the little girl was sent home from the hospital twice with doctors putting it down to an aggressive form of flu.
Dad Peter explains in the preview to the show: "I wish I could go back and question it. It hurts to know that things could have been different."
Breaking down into tears, Amy recalls moment she heard the emergency doctors 'yelling' out how they were 'losing her' during treatment for sepsis.
The parents were told to expect that their seriously ill daughter might not make it, as Mia was left clinging to life and requiring surgery on all four limbs.
With 231 confirmed dead this flu season in Australia, Peter and Amy are warning parents to keep an eye out for symptoms of not only flu, but deadly sepsis.
They explained that the condition was hard to detect as her daughter acted like she had a 'normal' flu for a few days – which the GP diagnosed as a gastro bug.
"We were told her to take her back home," mum Amy told the Daily Mail Australia. "But I said to Pete, 'this doesn't look right'. She was incoherent. She couldn't look at us or respond to questions.
"So we took her to the hospital. She was diagnosed with Influenza B and Viral Myositis and sent home to rest. We thought with the flu, Mia just needed rest."
The signs and symptoms of sepsis
SEPSIS is the primary cause of death from infection around the world, claiming around 40,000 lives in the UK each year.
Also known as 'blood poisoning', it's triggered by infections like pneumonia, urinary tract infections and stomach infections like appendicitis.
And it can be fatal – leading to organ failure, septic shock and death.
So it's important to know the signs to look out for to keep children safe – with younsters and newborns the most at-risk of developing the life-threatening illness.
Signs and symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Fever and chills
- Difficulty when breather or rapid breaths
- Increased heart rate
But during one of her checks on Mia during the night, Amy noticed a 'very pale purple rash' had appeared on her daughter's leg – so they rushed her back to hospital.
It was there that things 'escalated' quickly, and the then four-year-old was diagnosed with sepsis and quickly admitted to the emergency unit.
The parents were told that had they waited any longer to bring their daughter in to hospital, she would likely had died from the deadly infection.
"She was put on life support and there was a chance that she wouldn't survive," Amy continued. "At one point her heart stopped and we thought we'd lost her."
Against all odds, Mia miraculously pulled through and started showing signs of improvement – though it was too late to save her forearms and legs.
She had her arms amputated below the elbows and her legs below the knees, making her a quadruple amputee almost overnight.
In honour of their brave daughter, who is currently learning how to walk using prosthetics, Peter and Amy set up Movement for Mia – a fundraiser to increase awareness about the illness.
For more information or to make a donation towards Mia's ongoing medical treatment and the cost of prosthetics, visit Movement for Mia.
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