A mum saved her baby’s life by bursting into a doctor’s office to demand treatment during a gruelling eight-hour wait for a call-back.
Rachael Pedrick, 26, began worrying when Holly showed flu-like symptoms as well as sticky eyes, vomiting and diarrhoea on December 23. She says she rang her GP surgery after one-year-old Holly failed to get any better and was told to wait for a doctor to ring her back. The mum-of-two says she was left waiting for eight hours, after which she took matters into her own hands.
She said: ‘In the end I went to the doctor’s myself, walked into the doctor’s room and the doctor ran straight over to her, checked her over and said she needs to go to Prince Charles [Hospital] as soon as possible.’
Holly was kept overnight at the hospital in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, before being booked in for an emergency operation at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.
Surgeons had to drain an abscess from behind her eye after it was found she had contracted sepsis and skin infection cellulitis.
Sepsis is a rare but serious complication in infected patients that can lead to multiple organ failure and death unless treated quickly.
The NHS publishes an online guide to symptoms. Rachael, from Aberdare, said: ‘They had to cut through her nose to get to her eye. I was panicking. ‘It was the longest two hours of my life. She was out of it for four days, lifeless. ‘I couldn’t pick her up because she was attached to loads of things. She was in and out.
‘I don’t know what was going through my head. It’s talked about more than it used to be but it didn’t cross my mind that it could be sepsis.’
Rachael and Holly spent Christmas in hospital, but the child is now expected to make a full recovery. Her mum wants to spread her story to help others who find themselves in the same position. ‘The hospital staff phoned me and said if I hadn’t taken her to the doctor’s then she would be dead.
‘I was frantic. I knew it was serious but not how serious until I had the phone call. If I didn’t take her in she wouldn’t be running around now.’
A spokesperson for the surgery said: ‘We cannot comment on individual cases, but can provide assurance that the practice of offering appointments is taken very seriously, particularly concerning young children.
‘If a staff member receiving a call has any concerns based on the information provided, then it is standard practice to advise that the child be seen by a GP and subsequently to offer an appointment, which patients (or patient representatives) can then choose whether to accept or not.’ ‘We would encourage anyone with a concern about services to get in touch directly so we can listen to and discuss any issues.’