'It's blown our family apart': Grandfather describes 'every parent's worst nightmare' after toddler died from Strep A

7 December 2022, 17:40 | Updated: 7 December 2022, 18:29

Caller shares tragic story of toddler dying suddenly from Strep A

Melissa Fleur Afshar

By Melissa Fleur Afshar

A grieving grandfather has described how his family has been "blown apart" after his 16-month-old granddaughter died of Strep A.

Barry told LBC that his 16-month-old granddaughter died of Strep A on November 4, after a shockingly short period of illness.

Describing the grandchild's sudden decline: "She had a slight cough at the weekend, we went to the GP with a slight temperature on Wednesday, she was admitted to Watford General Hospital on Thursday, she was transferred to St Mary's Hospital and she died on Friday."

A shaken Barry shared his family's shock and despair at how quickly his granddaughter became dangerously ill.

"She went down so fast," said Barry, his voice tinged with desperation.

"She went downhill very quickly, unbelievably quickly."

The child's symptoms initially appeared mild, with slight breathing difficulties being her only noticeable change.

As time went on, her condition quickly deteriorated, and she became too unfit to travel to a more specialised hospital in London until it became absolutely necessary.

Barry opened up that the family rang 101 on Thursday and that after a call-handler heard his grandchild's concerning breathing, a paramedic was sent straight over.

"When we saw the GP on Wednesday, bless her, she was distraught," said a demoralised Barry.

"It was no fault of the GP," he added, "it's just awful, it's blown our family completely apart."

A doctor appearing on Tom Swarbrick's show advised that if parents notice a change in their child's breathing, or if their child is very distressed, that they should call 999 or use their own transport to reach A&E as quickly as possible.

"People keep putting it out there that it's just schoolchildren," said Barry, the grandfather of a 16-month-old who died from Strep A.

"[However], it also affects toddlers, obviously it's not just the school age but it's toddlers as well," continued the grieving grandfather.

As Strep A continues to circulate in the UK, much of the attention has been placed on the virus' risk to schoolchildren, after 9 school-aged children reportedly died of the virus within weeks' of each other.

The Prime Minister responded to anxious parents in parliament today, by reassuring the public that there is no shortage in the number of antibiotics needed to treat Strep A.

In a contrast, Health Secretary Steve Barclay warned that the UK's comfortable supply of Strep A antibiotics could be altered due to the stashes moving around as demands for the medication grow in specific areas.

READ MORE: An eighth child has died after Strep A infection, as parents are warned to look out for symptoms