Jason Watkins reveals his anger after his daughter Maude, two, died
The Crown star Jason Watkins reveals he felt ‘angry and cheated’ after his daughter Maude, two, died of sepsis on New Year’s Day a decade ago – and describes his grief as ‘a heart-shaped feeling that you carry around forever’
- Jason Watkins, 53, has spoken about his daughter Maude’s death in early 2011
- The Crown star said he felt ‘angry for a long time’ at fate when Maude, two, died
- He and his wife Clara Francis ‘felt cheated’ when her sepsis was misdiagnosed
Jason Watkins has spoken out about losing his two-and-a-half-year-old daughter Maude to sepsis on New Year’s Day in 2011.
The Crown actor, 53, revealed he was ‘angry for a long time’ at fate for taking the child he shared with his wife Clara Francis.
In 2010 a persistent cough and consequent respiratory problems prompted two consecutive visits to a hospital A&E, where Maude was initially diagnosed with croup, a type of respiratory infection.
But within two weeks of developing her first symptoms she was dead. She had in fact fallen victim to sepsis, an insidious illness in which the immune system reacts violently to infection, attacks its own tissue and eventually leads to organ failure.
Speaking to The Sunday Times Magazine, he said: ‘Clara and I felt cheated.’
He described the pattern of his grief changing over time, from an acute pain to a ‘heart-shaped feeling that you carry around for ever.’
Jason Watkins, pictured with his wife Clara Francis – the mother of his three children Bessie, Maude and Gilbert – in November last year, has spoken out about his daughter Maude’s death
Jason and Clara – who already had an older daughter Bessie, 13 – decided to try for another child after Maude’s death.
He added: ‘Life was not going to rob us of our happiness. And Gilbert has brought us so much happiness.’
Their son, now eight, is obsessed with his iPad and Nintendo and Jason went on to explain he has to limit time on the devices to 20 minutes a day – which caused a lot of temper tantrums.
The Crown actor, 53, revealed he was ‘angry for a long time’ at fate when Maude (pictured) died of sepsis on New Year’s Day in 2011
In the magazine’s A Life In The Day segment Jason described a 6am wake-up call before he fed his children toast for breakfast.
According to the Trollied star his wife’s role in a play means she doesn’t get back until late and Jason has to look after the children in the morning.
He will then prepare his children’s evening meals while they are away at school, and he says his eldest is now adept at looking after herself.
In the evening Bessie will do her homework and when the children are asleep Jason watches TV for an hour before heading to bed by 9.30pm.
In 2010 a persistent cough and consequent respiratory problems prompted two consecutive visits to a hospital A&E, where Maude (pictured with Jason) was initially diagnosed with croup
The actor, who played Harold Wilson in The Crown (pictured) described how the pattern of his grief changed over time, from an acute pain to a ‘heart-shaped feeling that you carry around’
In The Sunday Times magazine’s A Life In The Day segment Jason described a 6am wake-up call before he fed his children toast for breakfast
Speaking to MailOnline in 2018 of his initial attempt to return to work following the sudden, heartbreaking loss, he recalled: ‘I tried to work immediately and that was never going to happen, but I did try for a week.
‘I had to do lots of things regarding the circumstances of her death so I needed to be at home.’
He added: ‘I think (sitcom) Trollied was the first thing that enabled me to go away and work and earn some money, because there was no money coming in.
‘It was a distraction in some ways but for Clara, she’s a jewellery designer so it was harder for her. I was sort of carried along by the people I was working with and it really did help, while there were other challenges for her.’
The devastated couple eventually found an outlet for their grief through support group SLOW, a Lottery funded north London based organisation set up by bereaved parents for bereaved parents, with whom they still maintain a strong bond some six-years on from the death of their daughter.
‘My wife works very closely with them,’ he added. ‘It’s a place where parents can sit down and talk about what’s happened to them with people who have had it happen to them also.
‘Some people are maybe 10 or 15 years down the line and others have just lost their child so it’s a fantastic support group. That helped us specifically. Also family and friends.
‘You have to sort of reach out and find them. They are there to help and you have to ask. Sometimes that’s a very daunting prospect to help someone when they’re feeling so desperate.’
What are the key symptoms of sepsis? The ‘silent killer’ that can cause death in minutes
Sepsis, known as the ‘silent killer’, strikes when an infection such as blood poisoning sparks a violent immune response in which the body attacks its own organs.
It is a potentially life-threatening condition, triggered by an infection or injury. Around 245,000 people develop sepsis in the UK each year and 52,000 die, according to the UK Sepsis Trust.
Instead of attacking the invading bug, the body turns on itself, shutting down vital organs.
If caught early enough, it’s easily treated with intravenous antibiotics and fluids, but these must be given as soon as sepsis is suspected – it strikes with frightening speed and, for every hour of delay, a patient’s chance of dying increases 8 per cent.
Sepsis is a leading cause of avoidable death killing 44,000 people each year
The early symptoms of sepsis can be easily confused with more mild conditions, meaning it can be difficult to diagnose.
A high temperature (fever), chills and shivering, a fast heartbeat and rapid breathing are also indicators.
A patient can rapidly deteriorate if sepsis is missed early on, so quick diagnosis and treatment is vital – yet this rarely happens.
In the early stages, sepsis can be mistaken for a chest infection, flu or upset stomach.
It is most common and dangerous in older adults, pregnant women, children younger than one, people with chronic conditions or those who have weakened immune systems.
The six signs of something potentially deadly can be identified by the acronym ‘SEPSIS’:
- Slurred speech or confusion
- Extreme shivering or muscle pain
- Passing no urine in a day
- Severe breathlessness
- Skin that’s mottled or discoloured
Anyone who develops any of these symptoms should seek medical help urgently — and ask doctors: ‘Could this be sepsis?’
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