Mum distraught after boy, four, dies 24 hours after being released from hospital

A mum has been left devastated after her four-year-old son died less than 24 hours after he was released from hospital.

Katrina Farnell rushed her son Sheldon Gary Farnell to Sunderland Royal Hospital on Friday, November 23, where he spent the next two days being treated for what she believed was a serious viral infection.

The 23-year-old and her grieving family said Sheldon was discharged on Sunday morning – hours before blood results came back showing something wasn’t right.

By the early hours of Monday morning Sheldon’s condition had rapidly deteriorated.

Sheldon was unable to stand, he was dizzy, he was suffering from sickness and diarrhoea and had pain all over his body.

Katrina rushed him back to hospital, where he was put on life support, but tragically Sheldon died in the arms of his family on Monday morning from suspected sepsis.

His grandmother Nicola Farnell, 46, who Sheldon would lovingly call ‘Mommor’, said: "Sheldon was a very fun, loving, caring, joyful little boy.

"He went on life support and his heart just stopped and they tried to get him back.

"They were doing heart massages and his pulse was so slow and then it stopped again.

"Katrina just said ‘mam he’s gone’ – and he died in our arms."

Sheldon’s grandfather, Gary Farnell, said: "He had the rest of his life ahead of him and it has been taken away from him.

"I used to say to him ‘God help you when you get older and the girls are chasing after you’.

"He was a bonny little boy and he loved everyone. He was the most polite little boy.

"He loved everybody and he adored everyone.

"We’re a close family and we’re always together and we’ve just lost the best thing in our lives.

"The house is just too quiet now."

The close-knit family have gathered at Gary and Nicola’s home in Houghton-le-Spring, Sunderland, where Katrina lived with Sheldon, to support each other and grieve.

Sheldon will be missed by all who knew him including his best friends Jack, nine, and Olly, four, who are the children of Katrina’s partner Holly Keegan.

Sheldon’s aunt, Rachael Farnell, who Sheldon used to call ‘Aunty Hurry’, said: "He would take the mick out of you in any little way possible – he’s exactly like mam in that way."

His uncle and Rachael’s partner, Daniel Robson, who Sheldon used to call ‘Uncle Havier’, said: "The doctor had come round and taken samples of blood on Friday – they told Katrina they would be back in an hour with his results.

"She kept asking every hour but nothing came back, [the results] didn’t come back until Sunday night and in the meantime, Sheldon had been discharged."

"He’d had a lumbar puncture and he couldn’t even walk – for that alone he shouldn’t have been discharged.

"He did have all the signs of sepsis. He was yellow, he was being sick and he had diarrhoea."

Concerning blood results came back after Sheldon, who attended Nesham Nursery in Houghton, was discharged.

Gary said the family are now demanding answers from hospital bosses over what happened.

He said: "He should never have been sent home at least until they got them blood tests.

"We’ve lost our beautiful grandson. He was the star of our lives.

"We’re just broken hearted all of us – he just made everyone laugh."

An inquest to determine the cause of Sheldon’s death will be opened in due course.

Ian Martin, Medical Director at City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust said: "We offer our heartfelt condolences to Sheldon’s family for their tragic loss and are offering all the support we can to his loved ones at this very sad and difficult time.

"Due to patient confidentiality, we are unable to discuss details of Sheldon’s treatment, however we can confirm that we have already started our robust internal review process so that we can fully understand the circumstances around his care.

"As with any unexpected death, the coroner will also be undertaking a full and thorough investigation and we are offering our full co-operation and support of this process.

"We will continue to keep Sheldon’s family fully updated and are unable to comment any further at this time."

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