A man died just 36 hours after falling ill with a runny nose. Rhys Leatherbarrow was just 28 when he passed away late last year. His body was discovered when his sister brought him his favourite meal and found him collapsed on the floor.
Kamil Leatherbarrow, Rhys’ sister, was delivering his chicken and chips when she found him on the floor.
She told the Manchester Evening News: “We’re still waiting for him to come out from behind his bedroom door.”
She recalled how “he would always come out and wind me up” before adding: “Now you’re looking around thinking ‘there’s no noise and there should be’ even down to the middle of the night when I could hear him listening to his Alexa or creeping around.”
However, while Rhys was believed to have a cold by his family, the reality was far different.
Rhys had sepsis, a life-threatening infection that was eating his body from the inside.
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Sepsis is a highly dangerous, life-threatening, infection. However, it is one which can be hard to spot.
On the infection, the NHS says: “There are lots of possible symptoms. They can be like symptoms of other conditions, including flu or a chest infection.”
As a result, it would have been easy for anyone to assume that Rhys had a seasonal illness rather than sepsis.
Doctors said Rhys died from multiple organ failure caused by a combination of pneumonia and two cardiac arrests.
Dying on December 23, his passing has left his family mourning the loss of a son and a brother.
Kami recalls the moment she found him dead in his bedroom: “I went in and he collapsed on me. I shouted my friend and I literally had to drag him to his bed so I could get him in a safe position.”
Rhys was autistic and registered blind and had been due to attend an adult service programme when he fell ill and could no longer attend.
Kami added: “He got up and was all happy and giggly and told us his plans for the day. He was causing mischief and he was healthy, fit and well.
“There was nothing out of the ordinary. He came home and complained of a headache and sniffly nose. We gave him two paracetamols and said he could stay home from adult services which he was happy about.
“The next day, after I gave him some chicken and chips, I saw his bedroom door was open. I thought ‘he’s eaten that quick’. I went in and he collapsed on me.”
When Rhys collapsed, the emergency services were on the scene quickly.
Soon after arriving at hospital Rhys suffered two cardiac arrests and was placed onto life support.
The sepsis was causing the organs to shut down and the only thing the doctors could do was palliative care.
Kami recalled the moment when they were told his prognosis: “They took us into the family room and spoke to us and said all his organs were shutting down.
“Within six hours, he passed. It was so sudden but so shocking at the same time. We weren’t expecting it. We only thought he was going to hospital to get some antibiotics.”