ENDLESS blood tests, invasive surgeries and being hooked up to multiple machines for 24 hours a day are just some of the things four-year-old Isla Grainger has experienced in the last month after a sickness bug turned out to be E.coli.
Lauren Aspery from Whiteley spent more than two weeks in hospital worried her only child would not make it home after the E.coli developed into Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, affecting Isla’s blood cells and blood vessels resulting in kidney failure.
The 21-year-old said: ‘It was terrifying. I thought the worst and that we were going to lose our little girl.’
At the start of September, Isla, Lauren and Lauren’s partner Lewis Keith had just returned home from a weekend on the Isle of Wight where they visited a petting zoo at Tapnell Farm, arcades and the beach at Sandown when Isla began to have bad diarrhoea and sickness. Lauren also had painful stomach pains and nausea.
A week later when Isla started to refuse food and hadn’t been to the toilet for three days, Lauren rang 111, took her daughter to see a GP and then took her to Southampton General Hospital.
Lauren, who works for a mortgage company, said: ‘The doctor told us that “Isla is very poorly, much more sick than we thought”.
‘Isla had kidney failure and her body wasn't able to cope.
‘This turned into a matter of life or death.’
Isla had emergency surgery to insert a catheter and started urgent dialysis. A stool sample showed E.coli 0157, which is a bacteria found in the gut and faeces of many animals, particularly cattle, was present in both Isla and Lauren but Lauren’s body fought the bacteria on her own.
The infection can be caught through eating contaminated food, touching infected animals and contact with people who have the illness.
Lauren said: ‘I was so pleased we had an answer and knew what has caused the failure but I'm very concerned that we are yet to find out where the E.coli was contracted from.’
A Public Health England spokeswoman said: ‘The investigation into the source of the infection is ongoing with no evidence to link the infection to a source on the Isle of Wight at the current time.’
Isla had another surgery to remove a twisted catheter and after was moved to the intensive care unit and put into an induced coma.
Lauren said: ‘No matter how much someone warns you how scary things will look it will never prepare you for the moment you see your child in that way, reliant on machines.’
After coming out of the coma, Isla began her recovery with dialysis and medication and on October 2 was allowed home.
Lauren added: ‘She still has E.coli and isn't allowed back to school until she has had two clear stool samples confirmed by Public Health.
‘She will most likely face problems in the future when she hits puberty and pregnancy and her future prognosis is still unknown.
‘I pray no one else's son or daughter has to face what Isla has and I hope we can raise awareness about this horrible bacteria that has been so innocently contracted.’
Dr Anand Fernandes, consultant in health protection for Public Health England South East, said: ‘E.coli O157 can cause a range of symptoms, from mild diarrhoea to severe abdominal pain and bloody diarrhoea and, on rare occasions, it can also cause more serious conditions.’
A spokeswoman for Tapnell Farm said the team wished Isla ‘a speedy recovery’.