Lachlan Johnston, put on life support and taken to Lady Cilento hospital from what was found to be Influenza A.
Lachlan Johnston, put on life support and taken to Lady Cilento hospital from what was found to be Influenza A. Adam Hourigan

Child fine one day, on life-support the next

SHARNAE King had never realised how serious the flu could be until one late night changed her life, and she wants other parents to keep a close eye on their children this season.

Her son Lachlan, who was born with septo-optic dysplasia after suffering a stroke before birth, didn't seem himself.

"It was unusual because despite his disability, he's never been sick. We've been to the hospital twice in ten years," she said.

"He was a bit lethargic and not really wanting to eat, and my daughter and I had a bit of a cough so I thought he was coming down with that.

"I gave him some Panadol and he went to sleep."

Later that night, Ms King woke up at 4am and decided to check in on her son, who she said was a rough sleeper.

"I went in and he was in the exact same spot," she said.

"I rolled him over and there was a bit of vomit and his lips were blue. He was semi-conscious...but I couldn't wake him up and took him straight up to the hospital."

At the hospital, medical staff began testing Lachlan extensively believing an infection was at fault, and ruling out each one in succession.

"His breaths were really short...and they put him onto life support to take the pressure off him," Ms King said.

"They told me I was lucky. If I hadn't have woken up and found him they said he'd be dead."

He was transferred to Lady Cilento hospitla in Brisbane where tests came back positive for Influenza A.

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"He ended up with septic shock, which is basically like blood poisoning, which they tell me is a common thing to happen," Ms King said.

"From then they kept him on the life support for two days, and then began turning down the oxygen to see if he'd take over breathing for himself... and he did."

A week later, Lachlan is sitting up in bed, eating and smiling at his mum with only one tube in, and Ms King said the experience was one she couldn't believe.

"It was so scary, it was such a big thing. I had no idea it could become so bad," she said.

"I just wanted to let other parents know to really keep an eye on the kids, (Lachlan) had no symptoms at all the day before at all, but it was such a big thing."

Ms King said she was looking forward to bringing him home, but was still in Brisbane as the influenza virus wasn't completely out of his system, with treatments usually ongoing for two weeks.



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