Autumn's story

23rd May 2017

Autumn was diagnosed with meningococcal septicaemia last November, she was just 16 months old.


She was her normal perfect self all day, and she went to bed at 7.30pm. At 9pm, my husband and I were sat downstairs when we heard an almighty scream, and my heart just sank.

We both ran upstairs and as we opened the door, the heat in the room hit us, and she was just making a very high pitched scream.

We took her downstairs and lay her on the couch. I took her temperature while my husband gave her Calpol, and I can't even begin to explain my fear when I saw that her temperature was 42.6.

While we were debating whether to take her to the hospital, we could feel her heart beat through the couch as it was beating so fast - before we knew it the debate was over and we were in the car.

Sent home

After being at hospital for eight hours she was sent home with chicken pox. I argued the diagnosis as I have worked in childcare for 12 years and I know what chicken pox is like - and this was not it.

Nevertheless, we went home and as you can imagine she very quickly deteriorated.

Her skin turned yellow and she became very lethargic. She had developed a few non blanching spots (hence the chicken pox diagnosis) and she was violently sick. But more worryingly, I noticed her right foot had started to turn purple.

We rushed her to hospital and within 20 minutes she had two IV drips in her hand and foot. The doctor came through and told us she had meningococcal septicaemia, and although she needed a lumbar puncture to confirm, they would treat her regardless.

Then he said something that will stay with me for the rest of my life – If we had left her for a couple more hours they would have had to take her feet.

Full recovery

Thankfully, Autumn has made a full recovery and I am now on a mission to spread awareness - It is incredibly important to know the signs and symptoms.

We were told she had chicken pox and that she will be fine, and if it hadn't been for my experience in childcare, we would not have taken her back to hospital, and I don't want to even guess at what might have happened to our little girl.