Jason Watkins: Losing daughter to sepsis had cataclysmic effect on our family

Julia Hunt
Jason Watkins during the Cheltenham Literature Festival on October 15, 2017 in Cheltenham, England. David Levenson/Getty Images)

Jason Watkins has told of his grief after losing his two-year-old daughter to sepsis, saying it has had a “cataclysmic effect” on the family.

The Crown actor’s daughter Maude passed away on New Year's Day 2011.

Speaking on Loose Women, Watkins said Maude seemed to have "flu or a heavy cold” and was diagnosed with a chest infection. Sepsis was not picked up despite visits to the hospital.

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Then on January 1, 2011, his other daughter came in to his and his wife Clara’s room in the morning and told them: “I can't wake Maude.”

"She had died on the morning of New Year,” said Watkins, 52.

“It's almost Dickensian in a way, that in modern medicine that could happen.”

"It's had a cataclysmic effect on our family,” added the actor, who is known for his roles in Being Human, Trolled and W1A.

Watkins said losing a child was like being “a very dark pit that you feel you can’t get out of”.

Clara Francis (L) and Jason Watkins attend the After Party dinner for the House of Fraser British Academy Television Awards, 2015. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)

Describing his struggle to cope since his daughter’s death, he said: “We were in the park the other day and I saw a child that looked exactly like Maude.

"My wife Clara was approaching and me and Dennis, my father in law, we said, 'Oh let's go and do something else.'

“It's incredibly painful."

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He told Loose Women viewers: "What sepsis does is it lurks underneath presenting symptoms.

“So the presenting systems with Maude were breathing difficulties and a chest infection.

“The sepsis starts to overact against the immune system and it keeps going and it’s undetected.”

The actor is now trying to raise awareness of the condition, and is an ambassador for the UK Sepsis Trust and a patron of Child Bereavement UK.

“There is satisfaction in helping other people,” he said.

“With Child Bereavement it’s a way of saying, you are not alone, people have been through what you’ve been through.”