Blackpool man in coma after sore throat resulted in sepsis and organ failure

A Blackpool man is in an induced coma in Wythenshawe Hospital after a sore throat turned to sepsis, resulting in multiple organ failure.

Monday, 27th January 2020, 5:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th January 2020, 12:16 pm

Sean Sowden, 29, of Hawes Side Lane, Marton, woke up on New Year's Day with a painful throat, but had not visited a doctor during the week leading up to New Year.

The former Palatine High School pupil (now South Shore Academy) told his brother Dean, 30, that he "thought he was dying" and asked him to call an ambulance.

Sean's friend Kieran Armitage, 26, from South Shore, described the ordeal Sean faced as soon as he arrived at Blackpool Victoria Hospital's A&E department, where he learned that his sore throat was in fact a Streptoccocus C infection, which had led to sepsis.

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"Around two days later the doctors had put him into an induced coma to stabilise his organs.

"He was absolutely fine before this happened, I spoke to him about his plans for New Year's Eve a few days before and he didn't seem ill, or tell me he was feeling ill.

"He told me he planned to have some friends round for a few drinks, there was nothing untoward about his health at that point at all."

Mr Sowden, who works at Waterloo Road's Premier store, was put into an induced coma by doctors on the ICU at the Vic on January 3, and has remained in the coma since.

12 days after being admitted to Blackpool Vic, he was transferred to Wythenshawe Hospital's ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) unit as a result of his lung failure, where he remains on "at least eight to 10 different machines."

The hospital unit uses techniques to take over patients' heart and lung functions when they are too weak to function properly.

Kieron continued: "Me and my partner went to Manchester to see him on Saturday (January 25) and he was hooked up to so many machines.

"He hasn't been awake since he was put into the induced coma and he's lost a lot of weight. The hospital are just buying him more time really to give him chance to recover on his own, so he's on blood circulation machines and dialysis.

"His lungs have lots of little holes in them, and one has a much bigger hole so the doctors have told us he might eventually need a lung transplant.

"We don't know whether he will actually need a transplant or just operations on his lungs, but he's not out of the woods yet."

Sean's brother Dean and parents are travelling from Blackpool to Wythenshawe every day to visit him, said Kieran.

During his stay at Blackpool Vic, Sean was in the intensive care unit in the bed next to Blackpool dad David "Kenny" Cram, 40, who also suffered a shock sepsis attack earlier this month and remains in the Vic.

Kieran said: "Kenny's family have supported us through Sean's illness after they were in hospital together. Members of his family have donated to our Go Fund Me page online for him, so I just want them to know how grateful we are."

Lee Cram, Kenny's younger brother, said: "We shared the start of Sean's journey and his family were also very supportive of us.

"We've been trying to follow his progress, but it's difficult because he's in a different hospital now. We send him all of our love and wish him a speedy recovery."

Kieran has set up a Go Fund Me page for his friend with a target of £5,000 and all proceeds will go towards helping Sean through his recovery and his family's travel costs while visiting him.