Teen girl dies days after mum thought she had a cold

Described as a 'typical cheeky teenager', Lauren was only 13 when her condition quickly deteriorated.

The sudden death of a "fit and healthy" 13-year-old girl sent shockwaves through her family, who were convinced she simply had the flu.

Now, her parents are raising funds for research in Lauren Menzies' honour, a "typical cheeky teenager" that tragically ended up in intensive care for sepsis.

One minute she was laying on the couch at home, "watching Modern Family and complaining about the flavour of Lucozade she had been bought," her mum Sarah Menzies said in the fundraiser. "Less than 12 hours later she was fighting for her life.. a fight that unfortunately she was to lose, less than six days later."

Two photos of Lauren Menzies.
Lauren Menzies was 13-years-old when she unexpectedly died from sepsis, with the family believing it was just a cold. Source: Laurensmum.com / JustGiving

The England resident said in her blog that on Wednesday, December 4 in 2019, her daughter had the "standard cold / flu symptoms" and despite not feeling 100 per cent, she was "well enough" to go to school the following day.

'This wasn't supposed to happen'

Though by that Friday evening, after Lauren spent the day being sick from what was thought to be a stomach bug, things took a turn for the worse.

"I was concerned about a couple of her symptoms, rapid breathing and confusion," Sarah wrote. She then brought her to emergency, "fully expecting to be viewed as an overprotective mother".

"The triage nurse suspected sepsis, she was given fluids and antibiotics then transferred to a nearby hospital with a paediatric department to Alder Hey Children's Hospital.

"Her mental state seemed to be crashing and she was refusing, or fighting against, the treatment she was being given."

The decision was then made to sedate her, with the family expecting her to make a full recovery, however on Tuesday, "everything changed".

A photo of hand prints made out of paint, made by Lauren and her family at Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool, England.
The nurses at Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool, England, organised Lauren, her siblings and parents to do handprints before they said their goodbyes. Source: Laurensmum.com

"It was clear that Lauren had deteriorated in the night," the mum said. "After the finger painting, and the fingerprints, after the singing..we said our final goodbyes (and) we turned Lauren's machines off."

"It was unexpected, she was fit and healthy... and then she was dead. We are all in shock. This wasn't supposed to happen.

"We all thought that Lauren would get better. We took her to hospital in good time, she got all the right treatment, she was supposed to be okay."

5000 Aussies die from sepsis each year

Now, more than three years later, the family continue to navigate the loss of Lauren as well as their fight to raise funds and awareness on the life-threatening illness that took her from the world.

A photo of Sarah Menzies and two of her friends, dressed in shirts that say
Sarah, (middle) as well as her husband have been raising awareness and funds on behalf of their daughter Lauren after she passed away from sepsis. Source: Facebook/Sarah Menzies

"Sepsis wrecks so many lives, it creeps in unnoticed and does untold damage from Post Sepsis Syndrome, loss of limbs and death," Sarah said on Facebook this week. "5 people in the UK die every hour from Sepsis."

According to the Australian Sepsis Network, research shows an estimated 5,000 Australians die from sepsis each year, with around 18,000 being placed in intensive care for it.

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