Family warn parents over sepsis signs following death of daughter, 13

Family warn parents over danger signs following sudden sepsis death of ‘healthy’ 13-year-old girl just days after falling ill with ‘tummy bug’

  • Lauren Menzies’ parents are raising awareness and funds for research into sepsis

The parents of a 13-year-old girl who died of sepsis just days after her mother took her to hospital with what she thought was nothing ‘more serious than a bug’ are raising awareness of the ‘hidden killer’ in memory of their ‘beautiful’ daughter. 

Lauren Menzies, from Chorley in Lancashire, was on the sofa with flu – but less than 12 hours later she was fighting for her life in hospital.

‘A fight that unfortunately she was to lose, less than six days later,’ her devastated mother Sarah said. 

Following their daughter’s death in 2019, Lauren’s parents Sarah and Chris are trying to raise awareness of sepsis and have now set up a fundraising page where they are raising money for Sepsis Research FEAT by doing a series of challenges. 

Sarah wrote on the fundraising page: ‘Our daughter, Lauren, was a typical cheeky beautiful and healthy thirteen year old girl. 

Lauren Menzies was on the sofa with flu – but less than 12 hours later she was fighting for her life in hospital

‘Then she caught the flu, which then turned to sepsis. 

‘One minute she was led on the settee at home, watching Modern Family and complaining about the flavour of Lucozade she had been bought, less than 12 hours later she was fighting for her life at Alder Hey. 

‘A fight that unfortunately she was to lose, less than six days later.’

Her mother previously spoke to the Lancashire Telegraph and described taking her daughter to hospital with what she thought was nothing more than a bug. 

Sarah said: ‘When I took her in, I was worried I was over-reacting a bit.

‘There was so much (illness) going around, I didn’t think it was anything out of the ordinary. She’d been at her dance class on Monday and a drama production on the Tuesday, so there was no indication it was anything more serious than a tummy bug.’

She added: ‘Then she went downhill so quickly.’

Sarah said at the time she thought flu and viruses could be ‘dealt with’ but warned anyone who is worried: ‘don’t write it off, it could be sepsis.’

Lauren was described by her mother as ‘a typical cheeky beautiful and healthy thirteen year old girl’

The family are intending to run various fundraising initiatives this year.

The first will be the Slateman Triathlon in June which Lauren’s father Chris is busy training for. 

Their chosen charity says on its webpage: ‘Sepsis Research FEAT was established in 2013. It was born out of the experience of our founder, a sepsis survivor who also suffered terrible personal loss from a condition that has been called the ‘hidden killer’.

‘At the heart of our charity is the funding of world-leading research designed to improve outcomes for sepsis patients and their families and to save lives – here in the UK and across the world.’



Sepsis is a life-threatening condition caused when the body releases chemicals to fight an infection.

These chemicals damage the body’s own tissues and organs and can lead to shock, organ failure and death. 

Organ failure and death are more likely if sepsis is not recognized early and treated immediately. 

The symptoms can look like gastro or flu and can become deadly, rapidly.

The six major signs of something potentially deadly can be identified by the acronym ‘SEPSIS’:

  • Slurred speech or confusion, lethargy, disorientation
  • Extreme shivering or muscle pain, fever or low temperature
  • Pressing a rash doesn’t make it fade
  • Severe breathlessness, rapid breathing
  • Inability to pass urine for several hours 
  • Skin that’s mottled or discoloured  

Children may also show convulsions or fits, and a rash that doesn’t fade when you press it – and more than 40 per cent of cases occur in children under five. 

Anyone who develops these symptoms should seek medical help urgently — and ask doctors: ‘Could this be sepsis?’

The early symptoms of sepsis can be easily confused with more mild conditions, making it difficult to diagnose.

A high temperature (fever), chills and shivering, a fast heartbeat and rapid breathing are also indicators.

A patient can rapidly deteriorate if sepsis is missed early on, so quick diagnosis and treatment is vital – yet this rarely happens.

In the early stages, sepsis can be mistaken for a chest infection, flu or upset stomach.

It is most common and dangerous in older adults, pregnant women, children younger than one, people with chronic conditions or those who have weakened immune systems.

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