My baby girl died just a day after being turned away from hospital with a ‘tummy bug’

A MUM who lost her baby girl to sepsis has warned parents to ‘follow their gut’ if they think their child is unwell.

Little Harper Aitken, three, was rushed to A&E after developing a rash, temperature and sore throat.


Mum Lori Mullen (right) has told how her little girl Harper Aitken died of sepsisCredit: Mirrorpix
The three-year-old collapsed in a surgery waiting room when her mum took her to be seen by a GP


The three-year-old collapsed in a surgery waiting room when her mum took her to be seen by a GPCredit: Mirrorpix

But after a couple of hours she felt better and doctors said she just had an upset stomach.

The next afternoon her lips turned blue and her mum, Lori Mullen, 34, took her to see their GP.

Harper was rushed back to hospital by ambulance after collapsing in the surgery waiting room.

She tragically died just over two hours later, in hospital on March 8, 2019, at the Forth Valley Royal Hospital In Larbert in Falkirk.

This World Sepsis day, her heartbroken mum Lori Mullen says parents should mention sepsis to their doctor if they find a rash on their child.

Speaking to The Daily Record she said: “Trust your gut. I wish I had said the word ‘sepsis’.”

Lori has now told how the hospital ‘turned her daughter away’ without even seeing a paediatrician.

When Lori first took Harper to hospital she had a high temperature and the little one was asked to do a urine sample.

Because of how unwell she was she defecated in the sample and the experts said it was ‘contaminated’.

Lori said she urged then to take a look but said she was dismissed.

She added: “I asked her to look at it but she refused and said she was just going to put it down as a tummy bug.

“The rash had disappeared and her temperature was coming down so I was told to take her home. In the night she was ­hallucinating and her temperature went up again.”

What are the sepsis signs you need to know?

Symptoms of sepsis are slightly different in adults and children – here are the signs you need to know


In kids the Sepsis Trust says there are six signs to look out for.

  1. If your child is breathing fast – with no reason to, such as they haven’t been running around
  2. Has a ‘fit’ or convulsion
  3. Looked mottled, bluish or pale
  4. Has a rash that does not fade when you press it
  5. Is lethargic or difficult to wake
  6. Feels cold to touch


Sepsis signs can be slightly different in adults and the Sepsis Trust say you should follow the below guide in spotting signs.

S – slurred speech or confusion

E – extreme shivering or muscle pain

P – passing no urine in a day

S – severe breathlessness

I – it feel like you’re going to die

S – skin mottled or discoloured

But when Harper felt ill again Lori phoned the hospital and was told to go to her GP.

She said: “All of sudden she collapsed in the waiting room. She just flopped in my arms.

“She was taken straight into a resuscitation room in hospital, then she was taken into theatre.

“She deteriorated so quickly. I felt complete disbelief. I could not believe this was happening in front of me.”

Harper developed a red rash on her back and a black rash on her face and arm, and doctors told Lori she was dangerously ill.

She was put into an induced coma and a specialist team spent 45 minutes trying to save her life.

Harper was pronounced dead a couple of hours after first being admitted to hospital and NHS Forth had investigated the circumstances of her death.

In a statement the hospital said: “A number of changes and improvements have been made following a detailed internal review. This included additional clinical education and training led by an experienced paediatrician.

“We have met with the family on a number of occasions and shared the findings of the review, however, we will ensure they are also updated on the work which has been carried out.”

The hospital said a number of changes have been made since Harper's death


The hospital said a number of changes have been made since Harper’s deathCredit: Mirrorpix
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