A young British girl is lucky to be alive after developing sepsis from a throat infection. For eight days, 12-year-old Kiah Stone-Richards remained in a medically induced coma while doctors worked around the clock to save her life.
In December 2018, Kiah came home from school complaining she did not feel well. Her mom, Hayley, 32, told South West News Service (SWNS) that she initially thought her daughter had the flu, sending her to bed in the hopes rest would help. The next day, Kiah stayed home from school, during which time her condition took a rapid turn for the worse.
“Later that day I checked my phone and I felt a twinge of panic because I had loads of missed calls from my [mom],” Hayley recalled. Emergency officials were called after the young girl was reportedly found “blue and unresponsive” by her grandmother. She also appeared to have developed a rash — what the girl’s family would later learn was a sign of sepsis.
Kiah Stone-Richards in the hospital fighting off a sepsis infection.
At first, the mom said she thought her daughter was suffering from meningitis, which can produce a similar rash.
“I had no idea it would be something just as a serious [as meningitis],” she told SWNS.
Kiah was taken to Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham, where Hayley claims the girl was surrounded by 25 doctors and nurses at one point.
“I’d never even heard of sepsis, let alone the symptoms,” said Hayley. “One minute Kiah was fine and the next minute she was hooked up to a life-support machine.”
Kiah Stone-Richards (left) in happier times.
“It was like an episode of ‘Casualty.’ It just didn’t feel real,” she added, referring to the British medical drama. “I thought that was it — I was going to lose my little girl.”
Doctors were forced to place Kiah in a medically induced coma in a bid to save her life. “It was our only option,” said Hayley, adding doctors “had to drill a hole in her shin in order to ‘pump’ a cocktail of drugs into her system to help her fight the infection.”
“It’s hard to spot sepsis, there are lots of symptoms, and I would never have thought to look out for it,” she continued. “They think it all started from a throat infection.”
Kiah Stone-Richards barely survived sepsis.
After Kiah was in a medically-induced coma, “all we could do was wait,” said Hayley. There were a lot of “ups and downs” throughout the following days.
“Every hour was crucial,” she said.
Eight days later, Kiah “suddenly showed signs of improvement,” said her mother. On Christmas Eve, the young girl opened her eyes.
Kiah Stone-Richards in her school uniform.
“It was a miracle,” said Hayley. “She was well enough to open some presents and having lunch with us. I couldn’t believe how quickly she’d come around, she defied all our expectations.”
Three weeks later, Kiah was given the clear to go home. Though the near-death experience left her with cardiomyopathy — a condition that affects the heart muscle, making it harder for the organ to pump blood to the rest of the body — Kiah is “doing really well,” her mother said.
“She’s really bounced back to her happy, bubbly self,” said Hayley. “You’d never believe she was in the hospital fighting for life at the beginning of last year. We’re all so proud of her.”