Meningitis and Septicaemia awareness campaign 2009 - podcast

Eric’s story - Transcript

My name is Eric. My wife and I have 3 sons, the youngest of whom is Arthur. He is 2.

When Arthur was seven months old, he contracted pneumacoccal meningitis. It was sudden and totally unexpected.

He was grumpy but had been teething and showed signs of a slight eye infection on the Monday.

On the Tuesday he had a bit of a temperature and slept almost all day.

The next morning he was lethargic and struggling to open his eyes.

When we got him to our GP’s surgery he was blue, had severe breathing difficulties and needed to be resuscitated.

He was immediately taken by ambulance to our local hospital where, despite huge doses of antibiotics, his condition worsened.

Over the next few hours he went into respiratory arrest and had a seizure.

It was obviously very painful for him when his head or neck moved and his eyes rolled in the back of his head.

Because his condition was so serious, the retrieval team from the Sick Children’s hospital in Edinburgh flew up to get him.

They sedated him, put him on a respirator and flew him back to Edinburgh.

My wife and I drove through the night and arrived at the hospital to find Arthur in intensive care.

We both felt so guilty that we had not acted more quickly and were distraught at the thought of losing him.

Eventually Arthur was transferred to a hospital closer to home and he made good progress.

On his last morning in hospital an audiologist popped in to see us on the ward and explained that all children who contracted this form of meningitis are given a hearing test. A routine procedure.

Tests showed that Arthur had been left profoundly deaf, a permanent and common consequence of this form of meningitis. In just one day we had the joy of finally taking Arthur home to his brothers together with the heartbreak of finding out he had lost his hearing.

More than a year later he is babbling, talking and singing, and using sign language.

Arthur has recovered amazingly well and is a gorgeous, happy, little boy.

He has just started nursery and pushes his big brothers around like any other two-year-old.

From the experience we had with Arthur, my advice would be to familiarise yourself with the signs and symptoms of all forms of meningitis and septicaemia and act quickly if you have any concerns at all.

If you are worried about yourself or one of your friends, you should contact your GP immediately for advice or call NHS 24 on 111.

For more information about meningitis and septicaemia visit www.nhs24.com/meningitis

Remember prompt action can save lives. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

Updated 28 July 2014

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