Heartbroken mother, 47, shares last photo of her 15-year-old daughter before her life support was switched off after sudden asthma attack left her brain dead
- Beccy Smith, 15, died after a sudden asthma attack that left her brain dead
- Her mother Paula Thompson, 47, has shared the last photo of them together
- Family from Burton, Staffordshire, want to raise awareness of dangers of asthma
A heartbroken mother has shared a photo of the last moments she spent with her 15-year-old daughter before her life support was switched off after a sudden asthma attack left her brain dead.
Horrified mother Paula Thompson, 47, found Beccy unable to breathe or talk after she took a nap at home in from Burton, Staffordshire, to recover from an asthma attack.
Beccy was rushed to hospital and put in an induced coma, and her anxious family waited four days while the schoolgirl fought for her life.
But a scan revealed the GCSE student was brain dead and would not wake up.
The teenager’s devastated family said doctors think her earlier asthma attack had been so severe her brain was deprived of oxygen and she had a cardiac arrest while napping.
Brave mother Paula Thompson, 47, chose to release a poignant last photo of her cuddling her daughter Beccy Smith, 15, in hospital to raise awareness of the dangers of asthma
Medics switched off her life support, and the aspiring social care worker died with her family around her.
Her brave mother chose to release a poignant last photo of her cuddling lifeless Beccy in hospital to raise awareness of the dangers of asthma.
Paula, also mother to Chan, 28, and Kayla, 26, said: ‘Beccy was the most beautiful person. She was my world, and she was loved by everyone.
‘I’m so proud of the person she became.
Beccy (pictured) was rushed to hospital and put in an induced coma, and her anxious family waited four days while the schoolgirl fought for her life
Beccy Smith (centre) who died aged 15 from an asthma attack pictured with mother Paula (right) and sister Shannon
‘It hasn’t hit me yet. It feels like she’s just gone away for a while, and one day she’ll walk back through the front door.
‘The last thing she said to me was ‘Mum, I think I’m dying’, and that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
‘I just want people to see how dangerous asthma can be. A lot of people think ‘it’s only asthma’, but it can be fatal and should be taken seriously.’
Beccy’s cousin Katie Costello, 30, added: ‘Beccy was a wonderful person with a heart of gold. She would do anything for anyone.
‘She had such a big, bubbly personality. She was always trying to make you laugh, telling jokes and busting out TikTok dances.
Beccy Smith (left) who died aged 15 from an asthma attack pictured with best friend Mia Doyle
The 15-year-old had suffered with asthma for years, which had got worse in the weeks before her death for reasons the family don’t yet know
‘Two weeks ago she was completely fine. I don’t think any of us can get our heads around the fact she is actually gone.
‘People should know how dangerous asthma can be.
‘You can’t take anything for granted, because you don’t know what’s around the corner.’
Beccy was home with mother Paula Thompson, 47, and best friend Mia Doyle, 14, when she suffered chest pains and began wheezing, on January 9.
She had suffered with asthma for years, but in recent weeks it had got worse for reasons the family don’t yet know.
An ambulance was called to the scene, and she was treated with a nebuliser.
Asthma attacks kill three people in the UK each day and e very ten seconds someone has a potentially life-threatening asthma attack. Pictured: Beccy Smith as a child
Once her breathing stabilised she was left at home to rest.
Speaking on behalf of Paula, her cousin Katie, from Swadlincote, Derbyshire, said: ‘She seemed to be ok at that point. She looked a bit pale, but that was pretty normal.
‘She said she was exhausted from the attack, and was going to have a nap. She told me she’d call me when she woke up, but she never got to.’
Paula later found her unable to breathe or talk – and within two hours, she was in an induced coma at Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, on a ventilator.
An MRI scan on January 12 revealed Beccy was brain dead and would not wake up and the family were told to say their goodbyes.
Beccy Smith (right) pictured with cousin Katie. The aspiring social care worker died with her family around her
Katie recalled: ‘That moment completely broke us. We just sobbed and sobbed..’
Beccy was pronounced dead at 1.20pm on January 13, surrounded by her mother, cousins and sister Chantell Read.
Paula told family that her ‘heart has gone with Beccy’.
Katie said: ‘Beccy was Paula’s world, and they were best friends, as well as mother and daughter, so she is completely heartbroken; we all are.
‘She was the most amazing person. She had a heart of gold and would have done anything for anyone.
‘We just want people to know how dangerous asthma can be – and to never take life for granted.’
The family are fundraising via Go Fund Me to cover the costs of Beccy’s funeral.
They want her coffin to be carried in a horse and carriage – because that’s how Beccy wanted to travel to her prom next year.
Katie explained: ‘We want Beccy to have the send-off she would have wanted, and leave the legacy she deserved.’
ASTHMA ATTACKS KILL THREE PEOPLE IN THE UK EVERY DAY
Asthma is a lung condition that can cause breathing difficulties. It occurs when the breathing tubes to the lungs become inflamed and narrow.
Asthma attacks kill three people in the UK each day and every ten seconds someone has a potentially life-threatening asthma attack.
Medical care after an attack is vital, whether it is visiting a GP or getting hospital treatment.
While one in six people treated in hospital for an asthma attack need the same care again within two weeks.
One in 12 adults (4.3 million) and one in 11 children (1.1 million) in the UK are being treated for asthma, Asthma UK statistics show.
And in the US, one in 13 people have the lung condition, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
More than 12,700 people died from an asthma attack in England and Wales in the past decade, the ONS data shows.
In 2018 the condition killed over 1,400 people; an eight per cent increase from the number of fatalities in 2017. It was also a 33 per cent rise from the 1,071 deaths in 2008.
Asthma UK claims 2.9 million (60 per cent) patients in England and Wales are not receiving basic care as recommended by national guidelines.
Every asthma patient is entitled to an annual review with a GP or specialised nurse.
During these sessions, a patient’s inhaler technique is checked and they are given a written action plan on how to manage their condition.
Asthma attacks can be triggered by a strong odor, pollen in the air, dust mites, smoke or chemical fumes.
Signs of a severe asthma attack include: wheezing, coughing and chest tightness becoming severe and constant.
They also include being too breathless to eat, speak or sleep, breathing faster a fast heartbeat, drowsiness, confusion, exhaustion or dizziness blue lips or fingers fainting.
Source: NHS, ONS
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