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Haydn's story

6th November 2014

After a brave fight, 10-year-old Haydn sadly died from bacterial meningitis in June 2011. His mum, Jeanette, from Salisbury, tells their story

Haydn's story

Brave fight

"On Monday May 9th I woke Haydn up for school at 7.30am. He hopped down the stairs saying his leg was hurting. I thought he had pulled a muscle as he was out playing the day before.

Then he said he felt sick and was sick, just once. Haydn had a temperature so I gave him medicine and kept him home from school. I got his quilt and he lay on the sofa most of the day, which he did when he was poorly, giving him water and medicine all day.

At about 5.00pm Haydn said he was hot so I took the quilt off him and he seemed okay, drinking water but not saying much. I don’t know why but I lifted his pyjama top up and there was a purple mark on his chest – it didn’t look like a rash at all. I then checked his legs and there was another mark on his left leg."

Instinct told me to ring 999

"Instinct just told me to ring 999, and I told the operator I think he has meningitis. The ambulance car was here within minutes, then the ambulance came and we went to Odstock Hospital.

It all seemed so unreal – lots of doctors around him giving him blood; then they put him to sleep to stabilise him. By 9pm his whole body was purple; we wouldn’t have known it was him apart from his blonde hair. We were told he had to go to Southampton Hospital and waited for the PICU ambulance to come. We left Salisbury at 10pm.

When we got to Southampton we couldn’t see Haydn until 1am, as he had to be stabilised. A doctor came to talk to us and told us he only had hours to live – we didn’t know what to think, we were just numb."

Machines bleeping and tubes everywhere

"We went into PICU to see him and it was frightening, all the machines bleeping and tubes everywhere. Haydn was also on dialysis as his kidneys were failing and lots of antibiotics. How could this disease do this to his body in such a short time?

The doctors helped him through the night and the next day they spoke to us, saying what might happen as they had never seen such a severe case of meningitis at the hospital.

Haydn was kept asleep for a week to let his body rest and we watched his skin blister and gradually his legs and hands turned black because of the dead tissue. When they gradually woke him up he was very sleepy and delirious, not knowing where he was, thankfully.

The orthopaedic surgeon came to look at him and told us Haydn would probably have amputations, but he wanted to wait for surgery as long as he could. Over the weeks Haydn’s skin was all sore and he had to be put to sleep every hour so he could be turned. The drug to put him to sleep always made him sick and he looked frightened because he was scared of choking."

The longest day of my life

"Haydn was on life support the whole time as he couldn’t breathe on his own but he did try when they used to take the tube out for a few minutes to see how he managed. A blood clot appeared in his mouth and we had to see all the blood trickling down the side of his mouth to his neck and had to be constantly suctioned. After a week it settled down.

On Friday 10th June Haydn went into surgery having both legs and his right arm amputated. It was the longest day of my life, waiting for ten hours. The surgery went well but what a shock for us – it felt like we were watching someone else and it wasn’t happening. The next few days Haydn was stable and even managed a smile.

I could lip read what he was saying to me, he wanted to go home and didn’t want to die. All I could do as a mother was reassure him. I couldn’t even cuddle him or hold his hand because of his skin but I could stroke his face and say everything will be okay.

A few days after surgery Haydn got an infection but the doctors managed to get rid of it with more antibiotics. On the following Tuesday Haydn was due to have more surgery on his left arm but got another infection, so it was postponed until the infection had gone.

On the Thursday Haydn became really poorly and we were told that his organs were failing and he would probably not make it through the night.

After all our son had been through for six weeks, losing his legs and his arm, being on dialysis and life support, there was nothing more the doctors could do to help him. Sadly Haydn passed away in my arms at 8.15am on Friday 17th June, with all his family around him.

I’d like other parents to know that it’s not always the rash that shows itself first.

I never knew muscle pain was a symptom of meningitis. All I can say to other parents is don’t think you are wasting the ambulance service time or the hospital’s – just trust your instincts and get emergency help as soon as you can."