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Vincent's story

12th May 2015

Vincent’s story begins in June 2013 when he was just four months old. His mother, Gemma Muckle, recalls the moment her son was diagnosed with bacterial meningococcal septicaemia

Vincent's story

“Vincent was a very chilled out baby and he settled into a good routine at a very early age.

It was the weekend of the local carnival and we decided to take Vincent along for the day. It was a very sunny, warm weekend and throughout the day I noticed he was beginning to get quite whingey in the sun so I decided to take him home. That night he was very unsettled and lethargic. His temperature was okay but I decided to take him to the doctors the following morning to get checked out, just in case.

By the next morning he had a slight temperature and had become very limp and seemed oblivious to what was going on around him. The doctor advised me to give him Calpol and Nurofen, and to take him to hospital if his condition deteriorated.

That night I awoke to Vincent screaming. I rushed over to him and noticed that he had developed a spot on his skin. I checked this under pressure and when it didn’t disappear, I immediately took him into Colchester hospital. In the time it took us to make the journey to the hospital, the spot had spread into a rash all over his shoulders.

Vincent was given a private room and assigned a paediatrician to look after him. He was soon rushed into surgery as they were struggling to get any fluid into him. I remember telling my husband ‘it’s meningitis, I just know it’ but he told me not to be silly, there was no way. But unfortunately I was right. The nurse told us the devastating news that our son had contracted bacterial meningococcal septicaemia.

Vincent went in for more blood tests and was observed overnight. Addenbrooks and London hospital were on standby in case his condition deteriorated further. Thankfully, there were signs of improvement in his obs and he was responding well to treatment. Five days later his blood tests confirmed his diagnosis meaning he didn’t need a lumbar puncture.

We’re very lucky that Vincent hasn’t suffered any physical after-effects, but he has acquired a slight loss of hearing. I believe he may also be experiencing some development issues – he is currently being tested for autism.

Watching Vincent go through this was so hard. Because he was a baby, he couldn’t tell us how he was feeling. That’s why it’s so important for parents to be aware of all the signs and symptoms of meningitis. Trust your instincts – if somethings not right, get them checked out, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Since Vincent contracted meningitis we have held a charity night each year to help raise funds for the research needed to find a cure for all strands of meningitis so no other families have to go through what we did.”