Annaliese died of sepsis
A mum whose seven-year-old little girl returned home from school one day with “the sniffles” and died a day later with a strep A infection that became sepsis, has written a book about her ordeal designed to support other parents facing bereavement.
Clare Louise, 54, who lives in the Home Counties with her 52-year-old husband Matt and their two adopted boys, lost her daughter Annaliese in the summer of 2018.
The day after Clare picked Annaliese up from school and she seemed “quite lethargic” and her hip was sore.
She took her daughter to her GP and then the hospital, where she was discharged following some tests.
However the next day she was “crying with pain”, had diarrhoea and “mottled” thighs.
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Annaliese was seven when she died
Clare rushed Annaliese to hospital and her condition deteriorated. Tragically, having arrived at hospital at 10am, the little girl had died by 1pm.
The devastated mum said she was “totally in shock” and felt like she had “failed” her daughter, even though “there was nothing” she realistically could have done.
Annaliese, it later emerged, had iGAS, which stands for invasive group A streptococcal disease.
The disease is a serious strep A infection where the bacteria are isolated from a normally sterile body site, such as the blood.
Clare has now written a book, called And Always Annaliese, to help others battling grief, adding that Annaliese “is still a part of (her) family and always will (be)”.
The mum told PA Real Life: “When she died, I was totally in shock, I was just on autopilot and somehow rang all of our family and friends.
“We all had to have tests and medication straight away to check if we had iGAS too, which was absolutely surreal.
“We were all so distressed and my brain was going at 1000 miles per hour – I couldn’t take in the enormity of it.
“I didn’t realise at that moment that my life had changed forever.”
Clare began to realise that grief does not go away
Annaliese had woken up with what her mum thought was a classic run-of-the-mill cold, but little did she know it was something far more serious.
Clare said: “She woke up with a bit of a cold and the sniffles, but it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.
“She went to bed early and the next day she said she felt a bit better, so she got up and went to school.
“She was still under the weather, and at lunchtime I got a call from the school saying she was very distressed, and when I picked her up she was quite lethargic.
“Her temperature was high, and she was sleeping on the sofa, and I was just keeping an eye on her really.
“She said her leg was really hurting, so I began to get concerned.”
The little girl died hours after being rushed to hospital
She immediately dialled 111 and was told to take her daughter to a GP.
She said: “I took her to the GP at about five in the afternoon and she was really quiet – I remember she was curled up on the waiting room chairs.
“They recommended that I take her to the hospital – near us, there is a day ward and we popped her there.
“They took a scan of her hip and took her bloods and she was discharged.
“But it was getting worse – she walked into the hospital but was wheeled out in a wheelchair.”
At that stage, Clare was told that her daughter’s symptoms were likely because of a cold.
She said: “I was concerned, but not really really worried.”
However, during the night, Annaliese began “crying with pain” and woke up with diarrhoea.
Clare added: “She was still quite tired too, I remember putting her in front of the TV to watch her favourite film, Cinderella.
“I remember taking her trousers down when she went to the toilet and her thighs were all mottled – at that point I rang the hospital straight away.”
The hospital told Clare to bring Annaliese in, as her condition worsened.
She said: “She was in the hospital at 10 o’clock and she died at one in the afternoon.
“As it turned out, she had iGAS (Invasive group A streptococcal disease) which had turned into sepsis.
“It could have been treated with antibiotics but it wasn’t picked up on – as a mum, I felt like I failed.”
Following the tragedy, Clare wanted to channel her grief into something that could help others. She decided that should take the form of a book, titled And Always Annaliese.
She said: “I signed up to a three-month course called ‘Write That Book’ which teaches you how to write, publish and sell your book.
“It helped me get the bones of the story together, and I found writing it really easy.
“I structured it in a way that was very emotional and personal, but then it also has practical advice to help support, not only those who are grieving themselves but also their support network.
“Each chapter is about a different aspect of grief whether it be dealing with an inquest, the funeral, relationships.
“I decided to call it And Always Annaliese because I sign every card with that – she is still a part of our family and always will be.”
Clare’s book is available on Amazon at: amazon.co.uk/Always-Annaliese-Learning-Death-Daughter-ebook/dp/B0C3SK2G8B/