Taken too young, too soon by mystery illness sepsis
WHEN the time came to turn off his life support machines, 13-year-old Thomas Snell was wheeled outside on his hospital bed and took his last breaths with the warm rays of the setting sun on his face. His parents were with him.
The fit and talented sporting all-rounder from Darwin died at Brisbane's Lady Cilento Children's Hospital on July 22, almost three weeks after developing sepsis - organ failure caused by his body's response to a joint attack of the flu and a bacterial infection, the Courier Mail reports.
Sepsis is a mystery killer, even to doctors. It remains unclear why some previously healthy children and adults develop sepsis from common infections, and others don't.
The big hope is that through research, a blood test may be developed to pinpoint patients susceptible to sepsis so they can be treated with antibiotics as soon as possible and admitted to hospital.