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Harry F's story

30th June 2015

A high pitched cry alerted mother, Claire Fisk, of Prescot, that something was not right with her eight-month-old son, Harry

Harry F's story

With a temperature of over 40, Harry had contracted meningococcal group Y (menY) meningitis and septicaemia. Claire accounts her experience here.

“My son Harry woke-up quite normally on Friday 13th September, 2013. He had his milk as usual but seemed a little quiet, which I put down to teething. He went down for his morning nap at about 10:00am but when I went to wake him around 11.30am, as soon as I touched him he cried like I've never heard.

I was immediately concerned and checked his temperature, which was just over 40. I gave him neurofen but after 45 minutes his temperature was still the same and he was just cuddled in to me. I wasn't happy so I took him upstairs and noticed one very pale blemish in the middle of his back.”

Getting a diagnosis for Harry

“At that point I got dressed and went straight the hospital. It's hard to remember all the details but I think I arrived around 1:30pm and we were seen practically straight away.

Harry was undressed and his obs were taken. He had an abnormally high heart rate - at one point it was 235. This continued for quite some time.

He had quite a few doctors and nurses checking and monitoring him. I pointed out the blemish but the doctor said it was blanching so I don't think they thought it was septicaemia.

The first thing they did was dunk Harry four times in iced water. If he had a problem with his heart this would bring it down to under 200 then it would go up again.

After a couple of hours of being in A & E a few more blemishes appeared on Harry’s skin. I was advised he had an infection and wouldn't be going home.”

Meningitis was confirmed

“I don't remember meningitis being mentioned until we were in HDU at about 8:00pm when a consultant and doctor advised they were treating him for the disease. They said he needed a lumbar puncture but they needed to wait until he had improved.

The doctor came back to see me at 11.00pm. He advised that Harry couldn't be given anymore fluids and if there was no improvement, he would be moved to Alder Hey or Manchester Children's Hospital as he would need to be intubated and the hospital didn't have a children's intensive care.

At 2:00am another doctor came and advised me that hadn’t been any improvement and if there was still no change within the next hour a move would be decided. He also advised that the consultant had called earlier and they had changed the drugs.

Thankfully, Harry started to respond to the drugs and by morning he had started to improve. He was checked every 30 minutes and later that day he was moved to a room just off HDU.

Once he was moved his obs were less frequent and when the consultant came Harry had deteriorated again. She spoke to the nurses because his obs shouldn’t have been changed.

Harry finally went for his lumbar puncture about eight hours after doctors said he would be having it. I think the delay occurred because of the speed of his improvement. But as soon as he deteriorated again he was taken straight away.

The results came back very quickly and confirmed he had meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia group Y.”

Fantastic recovery

“Luckily, Harry improved fantastically and we came home on Monday 16th September. A nurse came daily until 21st September to give him IV antibiotics. I also attended the hospital every day for a new cannula as they kept failing.

Harry is now 31 months old and appears completely fine. He has six-monthly hearing checks and so far, so good. The only marks on his body are a couple of blemishes that you would never know were caused by septicaemia.

After reading the stories of others I realise how fortunate Harry has been. I remember a couple of doctors asking me a number of times why I brought him in and what made me go straight to the hospital. They advised me that my quick reaction probably saved him.

I went with my instinct. I know my child and he just wasn't himself. His cry wasn't normal and that was the main reason I reacted. His temperature at his age is something I could have marked down to teething.”