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Ben's story

22nd March 2001

Ben Sillwood would be at senior school now, but sadly the youngster didn't live to see his second birthday after losing his battle against pneumococcal meningitis

Ben's story

"Ben was a lovely little boy, always so happy and never crying unless he was tired or hungry. He first showed signs of being ill when his temperature shot up and he kept closing his eyes.

I called the doctor and managed to get an appointment. I remember sitting in the waiting room, looking all around and I spotted a meningitis awareness notice on the wall. As I read the symptoms I got called in to see the GP.

He didn't even take Ben's temperature, he just said he had a viral infection without even checking him.

We were sent home and I was told to give Ben Calpol, which I did. He seemed a bit better but later that evening things changed for the worst. We rang NHS Direct, who were really helpful and told us to go straight to A&E.

We waited ages to be seen. We just didn't know what to do. The care we had was appalling; they just left us. Although we kept checking his temperature and giving him Calpol, things were getting worse. We both said to the doctors that we thought it might be meningitis but they said it wasn't.

The doctors didn't realise how seriously ill Ben was. He was transferred to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford where we stayed all night just hoping and praying for a miracle.

Sadly we lost Ben on March 22, 2001."