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Bradley's story

6th March 2015

Five-year-old Bradley contracted meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia six months ago. He also had two mini strokes and was given only a 5% chance of surviving. But the plucky youngster, from Plymouth, has bounced back with no long-term after-effects. His proud mum Sarah recounts his astounding case

Bradley's story

“My husband went to work at 6 in the morning and our little boy was fine. I then woke up at 7 for the school run.

I looked over and my son was shivering and shaking, he was a little floppy and he had a very fast heartbeat. I could see this through his pyjama top.

I rang NHS direct, but he didn't have any rash at this point. I was relieved, but I did take him to the doctors to rest my mind. We both thought it was appendicitis due to him being in a lot of pain in his lower abdomen. I went to my mum, collected her and then went to the hospital. By this point he was very floppy, but again, no rash.

Within 10 minutes we had doctors, surgeons, consultants and nurses all around him and they put him on a drip for a possible burst appendix. My mum then noticed a black, dark purple bruise on his left foot. The nurses didn't know what it was. At this point my husband arrived from duty so I could take my mum home. I was gone for 45 minutes and when I came back my son wasn't there."

Deteriorating fast

“My husband was standing next to a consultant with his head bowed down and that's when he said ‘we think its blood poisoning.’ I asked ‘what can you do?’ and that was when they told me ‘Mrs Eyre, your son is deteriorating fast. We haven't seen a case like this in 25 years!

Within 45 minutes of me leaving he had been put into an induced coma, had God knows how many things sticking out of him, was having a blood transfusion and was so chubby - my boy is skinny.

At this point he was so ill they rushed consultants from up the line to get to our son because he was that bad. He was moved to an intensive care unit and that's when we found out that he had meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia.

That's when our lives were turned upside down. They told us he only had a 5% chance of surviving and there was a high chance of a phone call during the night. But, by next morning, we hadn’t received that call and we didn’t get it first thing either. I thought if he wanted to die he would have given up at that time. I did break down constantly. I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep. My husband was the more positive one, but I knew I couldn't go into the ward being negative - that wouldn't be fair on my son.

May not talk or walk again

“Over the week he gradually improved and after six days he came back to the first hospital. Then he had a further setback. He wouldn’t talk or move and we knew something was wrong. We were right - he had had two mini strokes on the right side of his brain, which affected his left side. We were told he possibly wouldn’t talk or walk again.

But he proved the medical team wrong and they were astounded at what he achieved as this hardly ever happens. He lost most of his hearing in his left ear and we were told it was permanent. But, two days later they tested him again, and it had come back fully. Three different people checked this and it was the first time ever that they had seen it happen.

Within three months our boy regained everything and was back to who he was before. To top it off his confidence improved. Our son went in with meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia and had two mini strokes with it and today, only six months on, you wouldn't think that he went through that.

He is the most astounding case they've had as he has no medical issues whatsoever.

I just want to say our son didn't have the rash until about two hours later. Please, I beg of you, if your child, family member or friend is floppy, shivering or has a fast heart rate, please take them in straight away.

I didn't I know, but I still believe what I did that day was meant to be, as my mum spotted the septicaemia, not me, and if I didn't take him in when I did he would have died. I knew that my son wasn't right and now he's here to live a full and healthy life.

Meningitis Now has been a source of comfort throughout this ordeal, talking to me and offering advice.”