A five-year-old girl tragically died just days after she was misdiagnosed with a common cold, when, in fact, she was fighting Strep A.
Australian father Justin Sutton took his step-daughter Cassie to the doctors after he grew concerned that she lost her voice. But the doctors said it was only "a viral infection and to keep doing what we’re doing and let it run its course", he told 7NEWS.com.au. Just days later she died from what turned out to be a dangerous but entirely preventable condition.
When Cassie’s condition worsened, Justin and Cassie’s mother, Jasmine, took her to A&E. After a negative COVID-19 and RSV test, the hospital also advised the family she was suffering from a viral infection and sent her home. Just days later, Jasmine phoned the emergency services in a panic, as her daughter’s lips turned blue.
Justin told the outlet: "She was going in and out of consciousness and had sort of collapsed in Jaz’s arms. So I started CPR while on the phone to triple-0 , and I was doing that for 10 to 15 minutes before the ambulance arrived, and they took over CPR while I set up the defibrillator." She was airlifted to a major children's hospital but after 78 minutes of CPR, she was pronounced dead.
The coroner found the cause of death was strep A and that Westmead Hospital where she died had found that out through a simple throat swab. If she had been correctly diagnosed earlier, she could have been treated with antibiotics. Four days later, the parents decided to donate her organs which then saved the lives of three young people.
Justin said: “I just want people to know who Cassie is and what she was able to do. She epitomises a real-life superhero, and not many people can say that. Something that’s been the worst moment of our lives ... at least she was able to save three other families, which is a beautiful thing."
Strep A infections are more common in children, but adults can also sometimes get them. Serious infections are called invasive group A strep (iGAS). NHS lists the common symptoms of strep A as: "Flu-like symptoms, such as a high temperature, swollen glands or an aching body; sore throat (strep throat or tonsillitis); a rash that feels rough, like sandpaper (scarlet fever); scabs and sores (impetigo); pain and swelling (cellulitis); severe muscle aches and nausea and vomiting."