We use necessary cookies that allow our site to work. We also set optional cookies that help us improve our website For more information about the types of cookies we use, visit our Cookies policy and manage your preferences.


Emma B's story

22nd October 2017

When Julie spotted a pinprick rash on her young daughter Emma she immediately arranged to get her to hospital. Her quick thinking saved Emma’s life. The Edinburgh mum tells their story here

Emma B's story

“On the 31st of May 2009 at 11am I woke my three week and five day old baby girl Emma up for her feed.

As she opened her eyes I noticed she was cross-eyed. I panicked and called my parents who came to see her.

“My parents said she will be fine and had just probably had too much sleep. I fed her and she took her full feed, but an hour later she became lethargic.

“I phoned NHS 24 and they arranged an appointment with the doctor, which was for 4pm. But when I stripped my baby to bathe her she was covered in a pinprick rash, so I called my partner Gary at work to take us to Edinburgh sick kids hospital.

Started doing tests

“When we got there my baby girl was taken from me into a room where at least 10 doctors started doing tests on her and attaching wires to her.

“A doctor took myself and my partner into a room and told us that my baby had meningococcal septicaemia and if we had not brought her to hospital when we did she would not have survived.

“He then said that she would be taken to intensive care. I couldn't take in what he was telling me I broke down in my partner’s arms.

In hospital for three weeks

“After 24 hours the doctor did a lumbar puncture and a few days later my baby girl was transferred to an isolation cubicle where she got treatment. She was in hospital for at least three weeks and I got to bring her home when she was seven weeks old.

“The first year was really hard. I worried everyday that she could get meningitis again and had to take Emma for check-ups. She had to attend numerous appointments at the hearing clinic as the septicaemia had damaged and narrowed her ear canals, making it hard for her to hear, which delayed her speech and development.

“After two years of failed ear tests she had an operation on her ears and since then she has been able to hear. Then every month she got conjunctivitis, which went on for months which led to her needing to wear glasses full time.

“But she is now a beautiful, happy, content 8-year-old with no other problems. I am very over protective of my daughter and find it hard to leave her with people – I'm always scared that she could get unwell with meningitis again.”