Parents shocked after boy, 4, dies from the chicken pox

Parents shocked after boy, 4, dies from the chicken pox
Parents shocked after boy, 4, dies from the chicken pox Photo: Mirrorpix

Parents of a four-year-old boy who died from chicken pox said they had no idea the disease "could lead to this."

When Euan Harbottle from Dumfriesand Galloway, UK, came down with the chicken pox earlier this year, his parents Harry Harbottle and Sian Roberts thought their son would have some spots and a high temperature.

Instead, doctors told the parents Euan had developed blood poisoning, sepsis, as a result of his weakened immune system. 

"He was never a sickly wee boy," Euan's dad Harry Harbottle, 66, told the Daily Record. "He was such a healthy, happy, bright, lively, fit four-and-a-half-year-old."

"For him to be taken away from us and his brother and sister as the result of a complication from a normal childhood illness is not something that is easy to come to terms with. We're heartbroken by his loss."

In January, Euan contracted the chicken pox, a highly contagious viral disease. Less than 24 hours after seeing their GP, Euan's condition deteriorated and he was rushed to hospital.

Hours later, Euan died.

"Everything happened very quickly," said Harry. "When Euan got it, we had him checked out by our doctor but we weren't worried that anything was overly wrong."

"He went to bed that night but in the morning things had changed and we could see how ill he was.

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"He hadn't been wanting to drink much but suddenly he was drinking a lot of water.

"We rushed him to hospital thinking they would maybe put him on a drip, get some fluid into him and he would be fine – but that's not how things worked out."

Euan has two siblings, an older brother, Rowan, 8, and a younger sister, 18 months.

Mum, Sian Roberts, 41, said, "His older brother Rowan fell ill with chicken pox the day I brought Euan home from hospital as a newborn.

"At the time, we had been worried about our newborn baby getting chicken pox so young but now I wonder if we might still have him if he had got chicken pox then.

"Our daughter Erin got chicken pox on the day of Euan's funeral but thankfully she was fine."

In memory of their son, the family are fundraising for an £80,000 (AUD$175, 347) play space in his favourite park by the harbour.

Harry said: "Although Euan's life was very, very short, he packed a lot of fun into it.

"He loved playing outdoors, running along the beach, watching the stormy waves come crashing in, climbing rocks and looking out to the sea while swinging on a swing."

Dr Helen Webberley, the dedicated GP for Oxford Online Pharmacy told the Huffington Post that parents should always trust their instincts when it comes to their children and see a doctor.

"This is a really tragic case which highlights how important it is not to become complacent about common childhood illnesses," she says.

"I would always recommend that any parent who is concerned about their child's health see a doctor as soon as possible. Sadly, even in the case of a routine childhood illness there will always be a tiny proportion of fatalities."

Harry said, "We have to accept that what happened to Euan was very rare and very unlucky.

"He was such a lovely, clever and generous boy and we are so proud of him."