Carl McCrohon was stunned to hear that his daughter has contracted meningitis just a week after a work colleague and friend died from the disease. Carl shares his story:
“My two year old daughter, Naomi Elizabeth woke up one morning in October 2014 and just wasn’t herself. I became worried because although she seemed to have the symptoms of a normal bug, she was really weak. Her whole body had gone floppy so we knew something wasn’t right. My partner Lucy called NHS 111, who contacted our local out of hours clinic and booked us an appointment. Naomi was seen straight away but the doctor told us it was probably just a viral infection and not to worry.
We knew something wasn't right
“A few hours after coming home Naomi seemed even worse and couldn’t stand up and was very sick. We now started to get really worried and called NHS 111 again. They told us to go back to the clinic straight-away and contacted our family GP so that he was waiting for us at the clinic as soon as we arrived. We were rushed into his consulting room. He checked Naomi straightaway and when he removed her top we could all see that she had a rash over half of her chest and back. I didn’t know it at the time that her rash was a symptom of septicaemia associated with meningitis.
She was getting even worse
“We were lucky that the clinic is part of Horton General Hospital and I carried her from the consulting room into the hospital. It all went by in a bit of a blurr but we were told her condition was getting even worse and she would need to be put in a medically-induced coma and that Naomi had bacterial meningitis and septicaemia. At the same time we were told a children’s intensive care ambulance was coming all the way from Southampton with a team of special medics who would take Naomi to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. When the ambulance arrived, I travelled in it with Naomi and my partner and her mum followed us by car. Once we arrived, Naomi was treated in intensive care and we were told to prepare ourselves for the worst. I’ve never been more frightened in my life. We were told that Naomi had only a 20% chance of surviving the next 24 hours and that we should contact all of our family.
Beginning to recover
“I still don’t know how we got through those first few hours and the days that followed, but somehow after a couple of days Naomi’s condition began to gradually improve. They began to remove the lines from her body, and on the Thursday she was transferred to a High Dependency Unit. The next day they felt she was well enough to be transported back to the Horton General and to our huge relief they allowed us to take her home on Friday evening.”
I can't believe it happened to us
“All of this happened in under a week and I still can’t believe it happened to our little girl, or that just a week earlier a friend from my work had died from the disease. At first I thought they must be connected in some way but I’ve found out that meningitis isn’t highly contagious and it’s just a terrible coincidence that two different cases happened so close to one another. Naomi is now a happy healthy five year old, who loves her new baby sister Bethany. We feel so lucky that although she has had some minor hearing problems she is doing really well and hasn’t suffered any more serious after-effects.
“The fact that it happened to an adult as well as my little girl shows that anyone can contract the disease and everyone needs to know the signs and symptoms so that they can get medical help straightaway.”