Steroids caused our son’s death

Our eldest son Aaron was intelligent and gifted, loved art, literature and music, played classical and electric guitar. He had his own band and also played the violin in the Chichester Youth Orchestra and West Sussex County Orchestra.

In the summer of 2000, he went to Valencia in Spain to take part in the International Music Festival. He had just passed 11 GCSEs, and was the only boy in his year to receive the school colours (their highest accolade). He also received a certificate from school for 100 per cent attendance.

Aaron never had an ill day in his life. The only reason we took him to the doctor was because he was looking a bit pale. After a blood test, he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. But the consultant said that because of Aaron’s youth, vitality and fitness, he would get through the treatment, and gave us a totally positive prognosis.

Six weeks later, Aaron died from multiorgan dysfunction, septicaemia and double pneumonia. He was just 17 years and six days old. We were with him continuously. Those days will remain with us for the rest of our lives.

Having read about Lexie McConnell by chance (WDDTY, vol 4 no 8), we realised how similar the events leading to Lexie’s death were to Aaron’s. From there, we’ve learned more and more about prednisolone and its drastic side-effects. No one warned us of the almost inevitable consequences of this drug. Prednisolone knocked out Aaron’s immune system completely in just two weeks.

We have contacted Art and Vicky McConnell, GASP (Group Against Steroid Prescriptions), Action Research of Horsham and AVMA (Action for Victims of Medical Accident). We have also kept a diary of Aaron’s treatment, and copies of our complaint to the hospital, the long-awaited internal report, and our subsequent reply and request for an independent review. We even sent a letter to the health services ombudsman.

We really feel Aaron’s case should be investigated and highlighted. If we hadn’t come across the article about Lexie, we might never have known about prednisolone and its disastrous history. It is too late for Aaron, but hopefully not too late for others.

We all miss Aaron so very much. – Fionn and Heather Hann, Hants

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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