Mum’s terror as girl, 3, goes limp and turns blue after MMR jab
Newbury mum Vikki Simpson now wants to warn other parentsBy Charlotte Penketh-KingElizabeth Mackley Live Reporter
16:00, 15 SEP 2019
Leah, 3, in the ambulance after her reaction to her MMR booster (Image: Vikki Simpson /SWNS.COM)
A mum-of-two has spoken of the terrifying moment her little girl went limp in her arms and turned blue after having a one-in-a-million allergic reaction to an MMR jab.
Newbury mum Vikki Simpson, 35, had taken daughter Leah, three, to Woolton Hill Surgery for her MMR booster, and had been pleasantly surprised that the tot didn’t cry when she was given the injection.
But just 15 minutes later, while Ms Simpson was chatting to the receptionist, Leah stopped breathing properly as she went into ananphylactic shock – an extreme and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction.
“I was holding her in my arms when I felt her go limp, and I thought maybe she wanted to be put down,” said Ms Simpson.
“I went to put her down on the floor when she looked up at me with such fear in her eyes and said ‘Mummy’ in this desperate voice that chilled me to the bone.
“I tried to pick her up again but her body was like a dead weight, her head dropped to the floor and she wasn’t responding at all. It was terrifying.”
Leah nearly died after suffering a severe reaction to the MMR booster (Image: Vikki Simpson /SWNS.COM)
The receptionist grabbed a nurse, who scooped Leah up and raced her into a doctor’s room, lying the little girl on a bed, while the doctor was summoned.
The room suddenly filled with people trying to help Leah as her mum stood watching, frozen in shock.
She said: “I had no idea what to do but stand out of the way and let them help her.
“All of the colour drained from Leah’s face, she was completely unresponsive and her eyes were rolling to the back of her head.
“It was devastating seeing her like that, and she wasn’t reacting at all to my voice and I could see her lips were turning blue.
“Her blood pressure and oxygen levels had dropped, and the doctor realised it was now a state of emergency.”
Ms Simpson said she watched in horror as staff worked to save her little girl’s life. She said: “The doctor turned to me, said he needed to give her adrenaline immediately and I watched in horror as he stabbed the epipen into her leg.
“There were a few seconds of silence that felt like forever, and then Leah suddenly seemed to wake up and start crying, which they told me was a good sign.
“I picked her up in my arms as she sobbed, trying to comfort her and that’s when the doctor told me they thought that Leah had had a reaction to her jabs.”
An ambulance was called to take Leah to Basingstoke Hospital, and paramedics told Ms Simpson if she hadn’t stayed on at her GPs’ the situation could have been even worse.
She said: “When we got into the ambulance, the paramedic told me that Leah’s reaction could have been fatal if I hadn’t still been in the surgery when she took a turn for the worse.
“We live 20 minutes from the doctors – if I’d just taken her straight to the car and strapped her in the back before driving home, I might not have noticed her turn ill.
“It was on a total whim that I decided to book my appointment with the receptionist after Leah’s jabs – if she’d cried from the injections, I would have taken her straight to the car so we could go home where I could make it all better for her.
“If I hadn’t made that appointment, I wouldn’t have been in that surgery, and I dread to think what would have happened if I’d gone straight to the car.”
Vikki Simposn with daughter Leah (Image: Vikki Simpson /SWNS.COM)”I want other parents to be aware this can happen, and to take that extra bit of time to wait and make sure the coast is clear”
Doctors told Ms Simpson Leah had had an extremely rare reaction to the MMR booster. She said the little girl did not react to her first MMR jab in April 2017, but the manufacturers have changed since then.
“Leah will have more routine jabs when she is 13 years old, but it will be in a hospital environment to make sure she’s safe,” she said.
“The consultant told me that it was so rare for a child to have a reaction like that to the jabs.
“Apparently, you’re meant to go and sit in the waiting room for 15 minutes after your child has been vaccinated in case something happens, but nobody had ever told me that.
“I’ve spoken to other mums since that terrifying day, and it sounds like some GP surgeries tell them to wait for 15 minutes and others don’t.”
Newbury mum Vikki with Leah (Image: Vikki Simpson /SWNS.COM)”I still think it’s important to vaccinate your children”
Ms Simpson is now reminding other parents to follow Public Health England advice and stay on at the surgery for 15 minutes after a vaccination.
She said: “I still think it’s important to vaccinate your children – it’s still a good thing in my eyes.
“I just want other parents out there to be aware that this can happen, and to just take that extra bit of time to wait and make sure the coast is clear.
“15 minutes is such a short amount of time, and you can easily take that out of your day to wait a little bit, especially if it could mean saving your child’s life.”
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Liz Mackley is a senior reporter working for Berkshire Live.
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