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Mum's warning of swine flu horror'

PUBLISHED: 11:55 22 October 2009 | UPDATED: 17:17 25 August 2010

A photo of her lost daughter, Holly.

A photo of her lost daughter, Holly.

A GRIEVING mother whose daughter died of swine flu says she fears that vulnerable children are still at risk from the virus. Holly Gibson died in her mother Kelly s arms on July 26 after a brave fight against the swine flu virus at Evelina Children s Hos

FUNDRAISER: Kelly Gibson with twins George and Lyra.

A GRIEVING mother whose daughter died of swine flu says she fears that vulnerable children are still at risk from the virus.

Holly Gibson died in her mother Kelly's arms on July 26 after a brave fight against the swine flu virus at Evelina Children's Hospital, London.

The eight-year-old, who was born with heart defects, a weakened immune system and a unique chromosome disorder, was a popular, bubbly pupil at Shenstone School on Old Road, Dartford.

Mrs Gibson, from Erith said: "When she was so poorly and diagnosed with swine flu I've never been more frightened in my life. I don't want other parents to go through the same horror."

"Over three days she arrested but was revived. Medical staff asked me and my husband, Scott, if we wanted to put a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) notice on Holly.

"It's the worst thing a parent can ever face, being asked to put a DNR on your own child.

"She arrested again. At that point we authorised the DNR but then she started picking up and was doing well. We thought she was going to get better, that Holly was doing her usual thing and playing a game with us.

"But then she deteriorated badly and we were told she might only live for a few more hours. I asked Scott if it was time to end her suffering, and we agreed it was."

Doctors had done everything they could, the eight-year-old was on a ventilator, her child's lungs already being forced the maximum amount of oxygen as the virus finally claimed her immune system.

"Staff unplugged the ventilator and gave her morphine," she said. "I held her and she passed away peacefully in my arms."

GPs received a letter last Thursday giving guidance on how to use the first batch of H1N1 swine flu vaccine which was being delivered to practices next Monday.

It advises doctors on who should get the 500 doses of Pandemrix sent to each surgery, including high risk clinical groups and frontline health and social workers.

The letter said the vaccine will reduce demand on critical care, likely to be under "heavy pressure" in the months ahead.

But Mrs Gibson, 32, of Bexley Road, warned parents of vulnerable children not to be complacent about the symptoms.

She said Holly was given antibiotics when she got ill just weeks before her ninth birthday. But still she was hospitalised and days later diagnosed with swine flu.

Mrs Gibson said: "Holly has been a brave fighter all through her short life. Lung infections were a common part of her life but I wish I had been alert to the threat of swine flu."

She added: "Holly lived for school, she would always come back with a big smile on her face. I can't thank the teachers there enough for their skill and patience with the children."

Mrs Gibson and husband Scott, parents of healthy four-year-old twins George and Lyra, are raising money to buy a mini-bus for Holly's school.

Erith Sports Centre is hosting a sponsored wheelchair race round a running track on November 7 to help raise cash.

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