Sunderland schoolboy rescued from the brink of death

Pride of Wearside.'Keaton Foale with his mother Claire Plummer.
Pride of Wearside.'Keaton Foale with his mother Claire Plummer.
Have your say

MEDICS brought a schoolboy back from the brink of death after his mum thought she’d lost him forever.

Mum Claire Plummer has told of her horror after son Keaton Foale, nine, began turning blue and frothing at the mouth during a seizure in the back of her car.

As she waited for paramedics, the desperate 34-year-old rushed to find help from a nearby GP who could barely detect a pulse in the young boy.

Though his family feared he was dead, a stand-by emergency team at Sunderland Royal Hospital managed to stabilise the South Hylton youngster - though mystery still surrounds what caused the fit.

His family now face an anxious wait for test results to see what caused the potentially fatal seizure.

It’s the latest in a series of medical complications for the Oxclose Village Primary School pupil who was born 16 weeks early weighing just 1lb 2oz.

Though he beat odds of just five per cent survival after birth, he has faced illness upon illness ever since including lung disease, bleeds on the brain, sepsis, cirrhosis, poor motability and internal bleeding.

He has never been able to tolerate food and drink and has to be fed every day via a gastrostomy tube.

Mum-of-three Claire, who is married to Daniel, 43, said: “The doctors have diagnosed lots of conditions but they don’t know what one thing causes it all. They’ve said being premature probably doesn’t help, but they just don’t know.

“He’s always in hospital, always under different consultants, always having different tests done. We’re always on edge, watching him.”

Speaking about Keaton’s recent seizure, Claire said: “We were driving along in the car and he said ‘mam, what’s that light’. I said ‘son, there isn’t any light’ and when I looked around he was frothing at the mouth.

“We pulled over and I left him with my mam while I ran to the GP surgery. When I got back, she said ‘he’s gone Claire, he’s gone,’. It was horrendous. But the GP was able to find a really weak pulse.”

Keaton has since been sent for an MRI scan and has been fitted with a heart recorder to see if doctors can ascertain what was behind the fit.

As if that wasn’t enough, he’s also been recently diagnosed with cyclic vomiting syndrome.

“It’s best described as a migraine for the stomach,” explained Claire, who is also mum to Bethany, 17, and Dylan, 14. “He gets these intense pains and continually retches when it flares up.

“It makes him really distressed and he has to be sedated.”

But despite it all, Keaton continues to make his mum proud.

“He’s never been able to have a packet of sweets like other kids and he can’t play football or ride a bike because he just doesn’t have the motability to do it. But he never lets it bother him at all,” she said.

“He had a tonsillectomy a while back and he began haemorrhaging, I ran into his bedroom and there was blood coming out of his ears, mouth and nose. But he just sat up and smiled.”

Still time to make nominations

Claire has nominated Keaton for a Child of Courage award in this year’s Pride of Wearside for his bravery in coping with his illness.

You can still make your nominations in our annual awards, which recognise the city’s unsung heroes, until tonight.

The categories are: Child of Achievement, Community Champion, Child of Courage, Safer Community, Sporting Achievement, Community Group, Fundraiser of the Year, Local Hero/Role Model, Green Champion and Student of the Year.

Plus, Echo editor John Szymanski will choose an individual or group who has appeared in the paper over the past 12 months to receive a special Editor’s Award.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony at the Stadium of Light on November 20.

Fill in a nomination form.