The parents of a 3-year-old boy who died suddenly while watching cartoons are too heartbroken to discuss the tragic case of their son, Theo Emm, who suddenly collapsed and then passed away at his home in mid-February.
However, while the parents of Theo, Billy Emm and Jody Windess, are too heartbroken to speak, Billy’s brother, Chris, wants others to know about the condition Theo was suffering from, so he did speak out. Apparently, Theo was suffering from Strep A despite not showing any symptoms other than feeling slightly lethargic the night before. His parents had welcomed his baby brother, Oliver, into the world just days before he died.
Chris, discussing Theo’s tragic passing, said:
“I’ve spoken to my brother and Jody and they said they didn’t feel they were able to talk about this as it’s still too raw for them.
“Usually they would be okay about talking, but they just didn’t feel they could. They did say to me that they wanted more than anything to raise awareness and not for people to think it is a sob story to take pity on them.
“This kind of condition in children is often called a ‘silent killer’ and it is very rare for children to die from it. In Theo’s case, there were no symptoms. He just collapsed on the Saturday morning and died.”
Continuing, Chris, who works as a nurse in the accident and emergency department at Salisbury District Hospital added:
“When he woke up on Saturday morning he wanted to watch the cartoons on TV so he was carried downstairs. Billy and Jody decided to phone 111 and while they were on the phone Theo just collapsed with a cardiac arrest.”
The Mirror, reporting on what happened after Theo collapsed, added:
A Wiltshire Air Ambulance emergency response team arrived at the family’s home within minutes of the call.
Paramedics carried out CPR on Theo for about half an hour but they were unable to revive him.
Theo’s death came just a week after his brother Oliver was born and the family now treasure a photograph of the pair with Oliver in his big brother’s arms.
Billy, 29, and Jody, 31, are looking into having counselling sessions to try to come to terms with Theo’s sudden death.
RHD Action, a group dedicated to ending Rheumatic Heart Disease, which is caused by Strep A (also called Group A). described the immense suffering caused by Strep A every year in an article on the danger it poses, said:
Group A strep, or strep A, ranks among the most destructive pathogens on Earth, rivalling malaria parasites, tuberculosis bacteria and HIV. In high-income countries, it’s normally associated with the knife-swallowing pain of strep throat, a nuisance that is often cleared with antibiotics. But in lower-income countries, infection is more common and people are less likely to receive effective treatment. Repeated and untreated infections can then lead to rheumatic heart disease, which causes the heart valves to leak.
Rheumatic heart disease used to be a common cause of death in the West, often striking when people were in their early 20s. It has now been largely eradicated in Europe and North America, thanks in part to the regular use of antibiotics. But the disease still hits hard elsewhere, affecting more than 33 million people globally and killing around 300,000 each year. Taking into account other, invasive conditions caused by strep A – such as streptococcal toxic shock syndrome, sepsis and ‘flesh-eating’ necrotising fasciitis – strep A’s annual death toll stands at over half a million.
Featured image credit: Jody Windess Facebook
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