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Charlie C's story

26th May 2015

When nine-day-old Charlie became irritable and unsettled, new mother Leah Cormack trusted her instincts and called for help. Little did she know that he was suffering from a life-threatening disease

Charlie C's story

She tells the story in her own words here

“It was December 2014 and Charlie was just nine days old. He became very irritable and would not settle. As he was born with Bilateral Talipes, he had casts on both legs so I thought he was still getting used to them.

Charlie would hardly drink any of his milk and cried most of the day but before my boyfriend left for work at 2.30pm, we had managed to get him to take a nap. I thought he would be better once he woke up but he was worse.

Every time I held him he screamed, he was very hot but his hands were freezing. Around 6:00pm I phoned NHS24 to see if I could get his casts removed as I still believed that this was the problem. I was advised to go straight to A & E.

My boyfriend came home and we went straight to the hospital with Charlie, screaming the whole way. The nurses were brilliant; we were taken from the waiting room within minutes."

Terrifying experience

“The whole experience is a bit of a blur. I can remember the medical staff trying to examine him but that was making him worse. They were asking me about any rashes but he had none. Then they were talking about all these different things - blood tests, lumbar punctures, fluids. I was a mess.

My tiny, new baby was getting pricked with needles all over his body in an attempt to get antibiotics into him until finally they managed to get a drip in his vein.

We spent three days in the High Dependency Unit at Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy. Charlie underwent blood tests and a lumbar puncture which we later found out had failed. He was on constant antibiotics but we still weren’t sure what was wrong. His casts were removed and there was no sign of skin problems.

Eventually the doctor said he was happy with Charlie's progress and was sure his blood tests would come back clear. But when he returned five minutes later, he told us that Charlie’s results confirmed it was meningococcal bacterial meningitis.

With a new lot of antibiotics and a further 10 days in hospital, Charlie was finally allowed home. Thankfully he’s shown no sign of after-effects but he still goes for check-ups. His hearing will be tested when he’s a little older."

Didn’t know how serious it was

“The nurses and doctors were amazing with my boyfriend, Charlie and I. I don't think I realised just how serious meningitis was until I started to look into what the disease is and how it has affected many other children and adults.

I had no idea of the symptoms or what to look out for but I'm glad Charlie reacted the way he did so I could tell something was wrong and get him to hospital quickly.”