An 11-year-old boy was left fighting for his life in hospital after his finger got infected – from BITING his nails.
Young Dylan Holliday was taken to his GP last month after his worried mum Kay Mitchell suspected he had a finger infection from gnawing on his nails.
But a week after his GP visit, Dylan had to be rushed to hospital in an ambulance as his condition had deteriorated rapidly and he was struggling to stand.
He was screaming in pain and having episodes where he was delusional and even began to hallucinate.
The boy was losing consciousness and the 37-year-old mum began to fear her son may be suffering with deadly sepsis.
But the family were given the shock of their lives when doctors diagnosed him as having Type 1 diabetes which was the cause of his health problems.
Kay, from Sheffield, South Yorks., said: “I was getting worried because he wasn’t getting any better – he wasn’t himself.
“I was afraid it could be sepsis, it never crossed my mind that it could be diabetes.
“He was just screaming out in pain and it was horrendous.
“When we got to the hospital he was falling in and out of consciousness, but you could tell he was in a lot of pain.
“He had four cannulas in his arms and he tried to rip them out.
“I’d never seen him like that before in my life – it was terrifying.”
The mum-of-two said she thought her son had simply chewed off too much of his finger when he complained about pains on June 13.
But a week later, on June 19, the little lad spent the entire evening crawling between his bedroom and bathroom and was being sick continuously through the night.
Kay added: “He was just feeling so unwell and he couldn’t even carry his own weight.
“The next morning he woke up in agony and we had to get him to hospital because I was afraid of what was happening to him.”
Dylan was rushed to Sheffield Children’s Hospital by ambulance, where he was immediately taken through to the resuscitation area in the Emergency Department.
A CT scan and blood tests revealed that his blood sugar levels were dangerously high.
His sugar levels were nearly 30 millimoles per litre (mmol/L), while the normal levels of a healthy child should be between 4-7 mmol/L.
The teaching assistant said: “If we hadn’t brought him into hospital it doesn’t bear thinking about what could have happened to him.
“It was such a whirlwind 24 hours – I felt every emotion you could possibly feel.
“But we want to warn other parents to look for the signs because this can happen to anyone.
“Dylan was a healthy boy, and doctors said it could happen to an athlete or a couch potato.
“But if left untreated, this can be fatal.”
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition, where the immune system mistakes the cells in the pancreas as harmful and attacks them.
Diabetic ketoacidosis occurs when the body starts to run out of insulin and can be life-threatening if not treated quickly.
Kay added: “Dylan’s ketone levels were dangerously high, and his heart rate shot up.
“He was screaming in pain and having episodes where he was delusional and seeing things.”
Dylan then lost consciousness and was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit, where he spent several hours before his condition was stable enough to move on to the High Dependency Unit.
Kay said: “The care we received was absolutely amazing from the moment we entered the Emergency Department.
“The compassion they showed, being able to listen to you sobbing and reassure you at your lowest moments, I’ll never forget that.
“They saved his life and I can’t thank them enough.”
After five days, Dylan was well enough to return home again where he has now returned to his hobbies of drawing and playing computer games.
He is eagerly awaiting starting secondary school for the first time in September, but life will never quite be the same again.
For children with type 1 diabetes, everyday eating and drinking require constant counting for carbohydrates, with insulin doses tailored for every child.
Insulin levels are also adjusted if blood sugar levels are running too high or low.
Normal activities including exercise and going out for meals pose their own challenges, while holidays require extra planning for insulin storage.
Kay continued: “Our lives have now changed forever, we’re constantly learning about diabetes and the impact it will have on our lives, but the Diabetes Team have been amazing.
“Every one of them made the effort to introduce themselves and check in with us during our stay in hospital and they have been a constant source of support.
“The dieticians also call every couple of days offering advice and helping us with any questions we have.
“My message to any parent out there would be to look out for the signs. It may be rare, but it can happen to anyone, at any time, for any reason.”
The fundraising to build a new Emergency Department has been adversely affected by the cancellation of charity events due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To support the effort, visit www.tchc.org.uk, call 0114 321 2470 or text SHEFFCHILDRENS to 70085 to donate £5. This costs £5 plus your standard message rate.