3-year-old Pippa's parents thought it was just a common cold. Later, the baby died from sepsis

Apr 16, 2018
04:55 A.M.
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Her parents and doctors thought it was a common cold, but the little girl died hours later.


Simple Most reported that three-year-old Pippa’s breathing was not normal one night but her parents had no idea that it would be the last time they see her.

The little girl seemed a little under the weather for a few days, however, her parents thought it was just a common cold. 

Suddenly, she had difficulty breathing one night and her parents rushed her to the hospital. Just a few hours later, Pippa died from sepsis.

Her father, Peter Howarth, then decided to spread awareness about sepsis in order to educate other parents.

The doctors did not realize it was sepsis and diagnosed her with pneumonia when she was brought to the hospital.


“What people don’t know about sepsis is the speed and how quickly it changes a life. Pippa went in at 7 p.m. and she died by 4 a.m. That’s how quickly it takes a life.”

Peter Howarth, Huffington Post, September 13, 2017.

Also known as blood poisoning, sepsis is the immune system’s overwhelming response to an infection. It damages the body by impairing blood flow to organs.

According to National Institute of General Medical Sciences, the body releases immune chemicals to fight any infection. These chemicals trigger widespread inflammation that leads to blood clots and leaky blood vessels.


Sepsis appears in three stages – sepsis, severe sepsis, and septic shock. It should be treated in its early stage before it ends up damaging any organs.


The symptoms are body temperature above 101 degrees F or below 96.8 degrees F, heart rate higher than 90 beats a minute, and respiratory rate higher than 20 breaths a minute.

The following are the symptoms of severe sepsis:

Significantly decreased urine output

An abrupt change in mental status

A decrease in platelet count

Difficulty breathing

Abnormal heart pumping function

Abdominal pain


It is also important to note that one must have had an infection before developing sepsis. It is most common for people who have been recently hospitalized. Pneumonia, abdominal infection, kidney infection, and bloodstream infection could lead to sepsis.

The best way to deal with sepsis is quick treatment once diagnosed. According to a study in 2006, the risk of death increases by 7.6 percent with every hour it goes untreated. A combination of antibiotics and IV fluids can be used to treat sepsis.