"A bright light has been turned off and I am left in darkness" - Mum's grief after death of four-year-old son as inquest delayed
'He was my world and I was his, I am lost without him' – those are the words of a grieving mother as she continues her fight for answers after her four-year-old son died at Sunderland Royal Hospital.
Sheldon Gary Farnell, who has been described as ‘one in a million’, died at the hospital in November 2018 less than 24 hours after he was originally discharged by doctors.
An inquest, which will investigate the care the Houghton youngster received in hospital, was due to take place this week starting Monday, January 20.
However the coroner’s investigation is still ongoing meaning the final inquest hearing has been pushed back and will now take place in August.
Sheldon’s devoted mum Katrina Keegan has spoken of her heartache as her fight for justice and closure for her ‘precious son’ continues.
“My life has been turned upside down since I lost Sheldon,” said Katrina, 24. “Nothing is the same anymore and life is too quiet. It’s as if a bright light has been turned off and I'm left in darkness - it’s a hard feeling to describe.
“I just know that losing my only child is the most painful thing anyone could ever endure.
“Each day that passes gets harder and I miss him dearly. I raised Sheldon as a single mother for all of his little life.
“He was my world and I was his, I am lost without him.
“Me, my partner and her three children are missing that final piece of the jigsaw from our little family.”
Sheldon died of suspected sepsis
At a previous pre-inquest review, Sunderland’s senior coroner Derek Winter said Sheldon’s death may be ‘unnatural’ and a final inquest hearing will look into the care the four-year-old received in hospital.
After Sheldon’s tragic death, his family said they were told the youngster died of suspected sepsis.
Katrina spent two days in hospital with her little boy believing he had a serious viral infection before they were sent home.
Less than 24 hours later they rushed Sheldon back into hospital after his condition worsened and he tragically died in his family’s arms.
The date of Sheldon's inquest has now been rearranged to a five-day hearing in August – almost two years after the four-year-old lost his life.
Katrina said her partner Holly Keegan and her children have helped her get through everyday since she lost her little boy.
“I am disappointed that the inquest has been moved to a later date again as I just want it all over with so that my boy can finally rest in peace and I can start to grieve for him properly,” said Katrina.
“I am, however, pleased that his case is being taken so seriously and I am hoping for a positive outcome that my son deserves.
“My priority at the moment is getting justice for my son - it is the least he deserves.”
‘I will fight to get justice for my beautiful angel’
Paying tribute to her little boy, Katrina said Sheldon brightened up everyone’s day and people couldn’t help but fall in love with his cheeky attitude and loving, caring nature.
“Sheldon lit up a room as soon as he walked into it,” Katrina said.
“He was a very special boy, a one in a million, and I am so proud to say that he is my son.”
She added: “The whole family still struggle tremendously to come to terms with the fact that he is gone and isn't coming back.
“I just wish so much that I could have him back in my arms where he belongs but all I can do now is fight with all of the strength I have left to get justice for my beautiful angel.
“I will not stop until I get the answers that me and my family deserve. Nothing will ever bring Sheldon back unfortunately but we need an explanation and justice for my precious son. Sheldon at least deserves that.”
A spokesman for Sunderland Coroner’s Office said: “The investigation is still ongoing so the dates had to be adjourned.”