‘Beautiful’ toddler dies after mum and dad forced to make heartbreaking decision


A devastated dad has spoken of how he was forced to make the heartbreaking decision to switch off his daughter’s life support after being told she “would never be the same”.

Dad Luke Thornton paid tribute to his “beautiful” three-year-old daughter Darcie, who died after being taken to hospital with breathing difficulties.

Darcie, who suffered from asthma, had been taken to Dewsbury Children’s Assessment Unit on March 5.

She was then ransferred to Pinderfields General Hospital by ambulance, where Darcie was laid on her stomach.

At that point dad Luke was told by doctors such position was bad, but when he picked the toddler up he tragically noticed she wasn’t breathing, YorkshireLive reports.

: Matthew Carbutt, headteacher of Orchard Primary School in Dewsbury.
Matthew Carbutt, headteacher of Orchard Primary School in Dewsbury has run a marathon to raise funds for Darcie’s family

Doctors rushed to save her and spent half an hour desperately trying to resuscitate her after one of her lungs collapsed, causing her heart to stop beating.

She was then transferred to Leeds Children’s Hospital the next morning.

Darcie, who was monitored over the weekend and was hooked up to wires and tubes, had a CT scan on Monday, March 8, and doctors told her parents, Luke and Rebecca France, that due to the swelling on her brain, “she would never be the same”.

They were told Darcie would not be able to see again or even feed herself if she survived, and although they accepted the devastating news, they then had to make the hardest decision of their lives.

Speaking tearfully about the moment Darcie was put on a life machine, Luke said: ““We were transferred to Leeds the next morning where she was unconscious through this, they were monitoring her. I spoke to the doctor and said be honest with me, what’s going on, she wasn’t this poorly.

“He said ‘I’m not confident she’s not going to survive and if she does, she won’t be the same’.”

On the Monday she was taken for a scan, at which point Luke said they were told the swelling on her brain was “too bad”.

Speaking on whether she could have had a chest infection, Luke said: “They got a lot of thick stuff on her lungs which they said was really thick stuff.

“It’s no way for a three-year-old, she was such a character. You only had to see her once to fall in love with her. I had always said she was beautiful.

“She was above her years.”

After discussing Darcie’s future, Luke and Rebecca made the heartbreaking decision to turn off Darcie’s life machine and she died “peacefully” earlier this month.

She was christened shortly after dying and leaves behind her parents and siblings Ellie, Tommy and her two-year-old twin brothers Bobby and Jack.

Darcie had just started nursery at Orchard Primary Academy, in Dewsbury, in September and news of her death has shocked and saddened the community.

Luke added: “I don’t think I will ever accept it. I think it’s hard to accept that I can never hold her hand again or kiss her good night. My heart’s broken.

“It’s the children I have to be strong for. It’s the way I have to look at life now and it’s just a pain I’m going to have to live with.

“She stole my heart from the first moment I laid my eyes on her. She loved life, she was always happy. The only time she cried was to get her own way – that was her.

“She knew she was loved and she knew how beautiful she was. She was my princess.

“I always think it the worst thing that could happen to any parent (losing a child), when it actually happens it’s worse than you could ever think for your kids.”

Luke praised the Chickenley community as well as the headteacher of the primary school Matthew Carbutt who has been supporting the family and has since raised over £7,400 to help the family with funeral costs.

Matthew, from Wakefield, ran 10, 10,000m sprints in under 10 hours last weekend to raise the funds.

As he reached the finish line at Pugney Country Park, on Sunday evening, he was met by Darcie’s siblings and her mum as well as colleagues who were supporting him.

Matthew said: “I wanted to help and support the family, no one saves for the cost of their child’s funeral.

“It really shocked us all as a school, it was difficult on a personal level, she’s the same age as my little boy.

“We didn’t know her that well because she was new to the school. I don’t think some people (staff) took it the first time I talked to them.

“It’s incredibly sad, the more I was thinking about it, the sadder it got. I think one of the things that got me was just that she had started the journey with us.

“She would have been here for a long time until she was 11-years-old, so sad that she never got to do that.”

To donate to the crowdfunding page, click here .

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