Family believe their idyllic lockdown walk gave their kids life-threatening E. coli - leaving son, 8, needing a kidney transplant from his mum
An eight-year old boy was left needing life-saving surgery after he and his brother caught E. coli - with his parents believing he may have picked it up from a walk in the Highlands.
Leo McFaulds eight, needed a kidney transplant after he and his brother Samuel, four, fell ill with the disease.
The boys contracted the disease in May 2020 following a countryside walk in the Highlands, with their parents believing it may have been picked up on the trip.
E. coli causes Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome (HUS) - an illness which affects the blood and blood vessels, resulting in anaemia and kidney failure.
The disease left the boys in hospital, with Samuel recovering after being treated with dialysis, while Leo was in hospital for more than two months.
The family were forced to relocate from Elgin, Moray, to Glasgow, for treatment at the Royal Hospital for Children (RHC) - one of only two children’s kidney transplant centres in the UK able to maintain a full schedule of renal transplants throughout the pandemic.
By August 2020, it was clear Leo needed a renal transplant, with Leo’s mother, Louise, providing a perfect match.
Louise said: “To have both boys struck down with the same illness and both having lifesaving treatment at the same time was harrowing.
"It was an awful time for our family as it came on so suddenly.
"Thankfully Samuel recovered relatively quickly, but Leo went from being a typical happy, healthy boy, who played in the garden with his brother and attended school, to being completely hospital-bound and unable to fully engage with normal life.
"But his bravery and optimism through this has been inspiring.
“I was naturally over the moon when we found I was a match, and despite the pandemic, from then on everything in the transplant work up process seemed to go like clock-work.
“Leo will always have kidney disease, and Samuel and myself will have follow up for some time to come.”
Dr Ben Reynolds, consultant paediatric nephrologist at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, who leads the transplant service, said:
"At RHC we’re lucky to be one of only two children’s kidney transplant centres in the UK able to maintain a full schedule of renal transplants throughout the pandemic.
"The change to the kidney opt-out scheme in Scotland at the end of the March still relies on people registering their wishes.
"We would always encourage anyone to discuss this with their families and loved ones about giving “the gift of life.”