Charlene’s young son Connor was only seven days old. He was lethargic, not waking to feed, irritable and running a high temperature. Local doctors sent him to hospital where, soon after arrival, the trauma team was called for. Charlene, from Liverpool, tells their dramatic story here
“The night before my baby was admitted to hospital, he was very unsettled. I had to keep encouraging him to have a feed.
“Early the next morning, I rang the local doctors to make him an appointment and asked for an early one as I was quite concerned and needed him to be seen asap. We arrived at our appointment, where we were seen by a locum. He did all the usual checks and said, as he was so young, he would send us to our local children’s hospital to have him checked there.
No sense of urgency
“He didn't seem worried or gave us the sense that there was any urgency, so we travelled up in our car. We arrived at Alder Hey, where he was seen by the triage nurse. The next minute there are calls over the tannoy for the trauma team to come. Our little tiny baby was rushed into a room with his heart rate at 250 bpm!
“He was shutting down. They were unable to insert a cannula so they could start him on fluids and antibiotics. They even had to shave a little patch in his head so they could try and get a vein in there - still, no success. They ended up having to drill a small hole into his shin bone to fit an IO and give him antibiotics that way.
“It was such a traumatic situation that was unfolding before our eyes. The IO was only a temporary measure and he was taken to theatre so that they could insert a long line as well as carry out a lumbar puncture. After a long anxious wait our little boy returned from theatre, and he was started on IV antibiotics. Surely things had to get better now.
“How wrong could I have been. In the early hours of the next morning, the nurse came into our room to check on the baby and quickly called for a doctor. His heart rate was beating at 300bpm.
Dunk him in ice
“The doctor came and asked for a nurse to quickly get some ice. They needed to dunk him head first into the ice to try and shock his heart back into a normal rhythm. This didn’t work too well, so they rushed him to PICU. He had gone into SVT (Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is an abnormally fast heart rhythm arising from improper electrical activity in the upper part of the heart).
“It felt like a really bad dream. A team of about six people were standing around him, working so hard to make my baby better. He was given a dose of adenosine and ketamine to calm him down and was put on CPAP (Continuous positive airway pressure).
Started to improve
“He only had to spend about 15 hours in PICU before we were moved onto a ward. He was given numerous blood tests, chest x-rays and urine tests. Finally, he started to improve. We got the results back. My baby had viral meningitis and sepsis. He had been so very, very poorly but the fantastic doctors and nurses worked so hard to save my baby's life and make him better. He had follow up appointments with the clinic and the cardiologist due to the SVT, but we were finally discharged after about a year.
“We were told to observe his development and he does still struggle in some areas, mainly around his speech. It is a time that still haunts me and I remember it all as if it was only yesterday. I am just so grateful and fortunate that we are one of the lucky families whose loved one survived.”