James Kell | Asthma UK
Asthma in the UK

In the UK, 3 people die every day from Asthma. 2 of those deaths are considered avoidable through proper treatment and care. Asthma now effects 1 in 11 children and 1 in 12 adults. Read James’s story below or visit Asthma UK for more information.  

James has had asthma since before I can remember. He has been a terribly poorly boy over the years, and on several medications – some in fact had side effects that were terrifyingly similar in the severity of effects rendered on his small body





James was just 12 weeks old, and merrily bouncing away in his Tigger door bouncer when I first noticed what seemed like a wheeze. I called to take him to see our GP, but they were moving premises so advised – considering his age – that I take him to the A&E department. Upon arrival at A&E we were seen quickly by the triage nurse and then a Doctor – with James being so little and in respiratory distress, they initially took it very seriously.

However, the doctor that came to see us tried to send us home twice. Something I didn’t agree with. Eventually we were referred up to the children’s ward, where we were seen by a paediatrician – who sent us home anyway. James’s condition gradually deteriorated over the weekend, and I made frequent telephone calls to the hospital, only to be told that – when they had seen him – they diagnosed an upper airways noise, and nothing to worry about. Full swing to Monday morning, I took him to the GP. Once more sent home with the words ‘if he gets any worse bring him back’. Those words will forever ring in my head. I ignored his advice, called the children’s’ ward and asked to be seen. (I had been given 48 hours open access at discharge over the weekend).

Seemingly reluctant, they saw us. I can only assume they believed I was an over worried first time Mum. I was a first time Mum – a worried one.

Immediately upon arrival, it was apparent to the nurses that James was in significant respiratory distress – something I had almost begun to believe I was imagining. He was snatched from my arms and instantly placed into oxygen. It was at this point, the room filled with healthcare providers, and I finally felt reassured that James was going to get the care he needed.

James was tube fed, and kept in oxygen for the following 10 days! He was so poorly, his weak and tired body could manage no more than 1 oz per hour of milk for the first 3 days. That was one of the longest fortnights in my entire life. 10 days of hospital food, of worry. Sleepless nights and hourly disturbances as the nurses try and sneak into James’s room to feed him through his tube. I woke every time. If you’ve never slept on the little put me up beds, I am sure you can imagine the comfort of the 2″ mattress on the metal frame.


Asthma Diagnosis

It took a few more hospital visits, similar to the above. His first Christmas, we were discharged from hospital at 4pm on Christmas EVE! Eventually someone decided there must be an underlying cause and we were referred to the respiratory clinic. 





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