‘We had no idea chickenpox could lead to this,’ say parents who lost their 4-year-old son

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  • A four-year-old boy has died after suffering a rare reaction to the childhood illness, chickenpox.

    When Euan Harbottle developed the ‘normal childhood illness’, his parents were ready to nurse him through until the rash subsided. 

    But less than 24-hours after Euan visited his GP in Janurary, his condition started to go downhill.

    After taking him home on the advice to give him plenty of rest and fluids, parents Harry and Sian soon began to feel concerned for their son, and rushed him to hospital.

    ‘We could see the life draining out of him and there was nothing the doctors could do to stop what was happening,’ Harry told the Daily Record.

    ‘By 11.30 that morning, he had died.

    Euan’s parents had ‘no idea’ chickenpox could cause death.

    Image: Facebook/Euan’s Playspace

    Euan’s parents were told that his death was caused by an extremely rare reaction to the chickenpox virus, which only happens to every 1 in 100,000 children. He had developed sepsis – blood poisoning – due to his immune system being weakened by the illness. 

    ‘He was never a sickly wee boy. He was such a healthy, happy, bright, lively, fit four-and-a-half-year-old,’ said Harry.

    ‘For him to be taken away from us and his brother and sister as the result of a complication from a normal childhood illness is not something that is easy to come to terms with. We’re heartbroken by his loss.

    ‘We had no idea that chickenpox could lead to this.’

    Euan’s parents are now putting all their efforts into fundraising in Euan’s memory. The money they raise will go towards regenerating a public play area, to be known as Euan’s Playspace, in their local community of Portpatrick, Scotland.

    You can visit their fundraising page, here. So far, they have raised over £28,000 towards the cause.

    Should you be worried about chickenpox?

    Chickenpox is an uncomfortable yet generally mild illness that almost all children experience before they turn 10.

    Most children get over the illness in a matter of weeks, and though it might leave behind some light scarring, generally there are no side effects or long lasting damage.

    What happened to Euan is extremely rare, but it is always best to trust your instincts. If you are worried, take your child to see their GP.