Mum’s E. coli warning to parents as ‘princess’ daughter, 2, dies after family holiday in Turkey

The mother of a two-year-old girl who died after a family holiday had warned other parents about the dangers of E. coli. “Princess” Allie Birchall became suddenly ill and died after returning from a dream trip to Turkey, where it is believed she contracted the bacterial infection.

Allie had visited an all-inclusive, 10-day holiday with her family on July 23, 2019, an inquest at Manchester Coroner’s Court heard last month. By July 27, she had become ill with stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting.

Just 11 days later, Allie had deteriorated so much that doctors were unable to save her. ‘Allie was found to have a unique strain of Escherichia coli (E. coli) which must have originated in Turkey but it is not possible to say how Allie acquired it’, the coroner has concluded.

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Allie, from Atherton, near Wigan, was admitted to Royal Bolton Hospital. ‘Doctors were concerned that Allie was suffering from Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome caused by Shiga[-Toxin] producing Escherichia coli’, the coroner found.

Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome is a potentially fatal blood condition linked to Shiga-Toxin E. coli which can lead to kidney failure and brain damage. As she was diagnosed with both illnesses and worsened, medics decided Allie needed to be transferred to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital for more supportive treatment, including dialysis, the inquest heard.

It was found that Allie had contracted E. coli

Allie was placed into an induced coma on August 1 and her family made the heart-wrenching decision to terminate her life support two days later, after an MRI scan revealed she had suffered brain damage, they told the inquest.

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After almost three years of waiting for answers about what happened to their little girl, the family hopes others might be saved their suffering as they watched Allie be ‘snatched away in the cruelest way possible’.

Katie Dawson and her daughter Allie

Allie’s mum Katie, 36, said: “Losing our little Allie so tragically and suddenly was heartbreaking for us all, and it’s still incredibly difficult to think we’ll never see her again.

“When she was admitted to hospital, we were all praying she would pull through. To be told she had suffered brain damage was absolutely devastating.

“Sadly nothing can turn back the clock and bring our princess back to us,” said the devastated family

“The whole experience has been nothing short of traumatic and we have lost a huge part of our lives. Allie had her whole life ahead of her before it was snatched away in the cruelest way possible. Her death of her is something we’ll never get over.

“Sadly nothing can turn back the clock and bring our princess back to us, but we’re grateful that the inquest is over and we at least have some answers. All we can hope for now is that others don’t have to suffer like our family has.”

The coroner found little Allie’s medical cause of death to be encephalopathy (brain swelling) and other complications associated with Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome, brought on by Shiga-Toxin producing Escherichia coli (E. coli) infection.

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Jatinder Paul, the Senior Associate Solicitor at Irwin Mitchell representing Allie’s loved ones, said: “Allie’s death continues to have a profound effect on her family, including her mum Katie who in particular is understandably still struggling to come to terms with what they’ve all been through.

The coroner found little Allie’s medical cause of death to be encephalopathy (brain swelling) and other complications of the infection caused by E. coli

“While we can’t change what happened, Allie’s family at least now have some answers as to why she was taken from them so soon. The dangers of gastric illnesses and infections should never be downplayed.

“E.coli is extremely serious and can result in long-term health problems and in the worst cases, such as this, death. We’ll continue to support them as they attempt to come to terms with their loss.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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