Sheldon Farnell: Mum vows to fight for justice after son's shock death at age 4

The grieving mother of Sheldon Gary Farnell says she will fight for 'justice' for her son after his tragic death.

Thursday, 29th November 2018, 8:21 am
Updated Thursday, 29th November 2018, 8:25 am

The four-year-old died of suspected sepsis on Monday morning - less than 24 hours after doctors sent him home.

His adoring mother, Katrina Farnell, had rushed him to hospital on Friday after the ‘joyful’ youngster fell unwell.

Sheldon with mum Katrina Farnell
Sheldon with mum Katrina Farnell

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A review into the circumstances around Sheldon’s care has now been launched by bosses at City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, with the matter also passed to the city coroner for investigation.

They spent two days in hospital believing he had a viral infection until he was released on Sunday morning - before blood results returned showing something was wrong.

Miss Farnell, 23, who lives in Houghton, said: “Sheldon was my life, he was my world. I should have been spending money to give him a good Christmas but now I will be spending on a funeral.

Katrina Farnell lost her son Sheldon Farnell, 4 tragically from suspected sepsis

“All I can do is to get justice for him now.

“They should have saved him. If they had given us his blood test results in an hour like they said he would still be here.

“My little boy died. He was in so much pain and they didn’t do enough.

“They came in on Sunday morning to say he had a viral infection, gave him an iron infusion and said we could take him home, and to give him Calpol if I thought he needed it.

Family of Sheldon Farnell, 4 who tragically died from suspected sepsis. Front mother Katrina Farnell with grandmother Nicola Farnell and grandfather Gary Farnell Back row: Hilda Jamieson, Sarah Farnell, Damian Addison, Holly Keegan, Daniel Robson, Rachael Farnell with baby Violet-Mae.

“I asked them to check his back again. A doctor came in touched his back and said it was okay.

“He was shaking and his arms and face were swollen. I asked them to check the needle in his foot because he said it hurt and the nurse said it doesn’t hurt once it’s in but Sheldon was crying.

“I knew he wasn’t well. I didn’t want to go. They shouldn’t have let him go.”

Ian Martin, medical director at City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We offer our heartfelt condolences to Sheldon’s family for their tragic loss and are offering all the support we can to his loved ones at this very sad and difficult time.


“Due to patient confidentiality, we are unable to discuss details of Sheldon’s treatment, however we can confirm that we have already started our robust internal review process so that we can fully understand the circumstances around his care.”

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A popular pupil, Sheldon attended Houghton Community Nursery School and staff have paid tribute to him.

Sarah Dixon-Jones, headteacher at the nursery, said: “Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the family and friends of Sheldon, who was a popular child. We plan to establish a memorial bench in our nursery garden and will support our children as they come to terms with this tragic loss.”

So far more than £1,000 has been raised towards a funeral for Sheldon.

Sheldon’s family say they would like to thank everyone for what they are doing and they would love to give Sheldon the send off he deserves.

The page, which was set up on Tuesday by Kirby Wiffen, said: “A much-loved, beautiful, funny, caring little boy has sadly gained his wings and flew away from his family who adored him dearly.

“Sheldon was taken into hospital and became very poorly, he sadly passed away a short time later due to sepsis & his tiny little heart gave up.

“I have set up this go fund me to help raise as much as possible to help contribute towards giving this beautiful boy the best send off he deserves.

“Every little helps. Fly high and shine bright gorgeous boy.”

A fundraiser will also take place at Fulforth Centre, in Sacriston, on Friday December 7 in Sheldon’s memory.

The event will run from 2pm to 4pm and there will be a raffle, tombola and cake sale.