Parents Raise Awareness after Son Dies From Flu-Related Sepsis

“I don’t want another family to go through what we’re going through right now.”


On January 18, 5-year-old Lochlin DeSantis started his morning by playing hockey with his older brother. However, after developing flu-related sepsis, he died on January 20.

Lochlin complained to his mother, Brooke DeSantis, that he did not feel well when she picked him up from school on January 17. Brooke said, “He said his legs were cramped and his head hurt. He had a low-grade fever.”

He seemed fine on January 18 and 19. Although his legs were painful, he did not have a high-grade fever. However, he stopped eating and drinking later on January 19 afternoon. Brooke said, “It was odd for Lochlin, who loved to eat.”

His mother immediately took him to urgent care, where Lochlin was found to have influenza. Urgent care doctors advised Tamiflu to Lochlin and his family and told Brooke to take Lochlin to the hospital if his condition gets worse.

Brooke said, “At that point, he could not walk from the pain.”

On January 20, Brooke took him to the hospital around noon. However, he died at around 2 pm after developing flu-related sepsis, a life-threatening condition.

Brooke said, “I knew before I even left the house to take him, I knew. I just had hoped maybe they could do something, but I knew.”

“Lochlin did not show the signs of sepsis,” said Brooke.

Lochlin’s father, William DeSantis, said, “I never even knew the flu could cause sepsis.”

Brooke and William want to start raising awareness about sepsis. They want parents to recognize the signs and symptoms of flu and sepsis and seek medical attention right away.

William said, “Because this flu season has been really, really bad. It’s been really bad across the board. So I don’t want another family to go through what we’re going through right now.”

“He was a typical middle child,” said William. “He wanted the freedom of his older brother with the attention of his baby brother.”

Citing their son’s giving nature, the family wants to raise awareness about sepsis, possibly through a charity. In Lochlin’s memory, a GoFundMe charity raised $10,695 as of January 31.

William said, “We can’t get our boy back but maybe we can stop other people from losing (their child), and that’s kind of where we’re at right now. I think he would want us to do something nice.”