Harry H's story

3rd February 2022

Chenise’s baby son Harry was making a funny noise whilst breathing and lifting his legs like he had tummy ache, which is what they put it down to. But later that afternoon he quickly went downhill, turning grey, floppy and not responding. Then a rash started to appear on his chest

Harry H bacterial meningococcal meningitis case study

He was quickly rushed to hospital and thankfully has pulled through, as Chenise, from Sutton Coldfield in the West Midlands, tells us here.

“Harry was rushed into Sandwell Hospital via ambulance at 4 weeks old on 24 October last year due to contracting meningococcal septicaemia

“At first he was just making a slight grunting noise and was lifting his legs up as though he had tummy ache but, come the afternoon, he was grey and floppy, his eyes glazed over and he suddenly developed a slight rash to his chest, which did not disappear when a glass was rolled over it

“The paramedic called the hospital from the red phone on the ambulance, explaining Harry’s symptoms, and told me that we would need to run from the ambulance into the hospital where the medical team were waiting for him. 

The ambulance stopped and we ran

“The ambulance stopped and we ran. Harry was taken off me and I counted 13 members of staff working on him. I panicked, I had no idea what was happening. 

“Harry’s dad was unable to come with us due to Covid but when Harry was handed over to the team at the hospital a phone call was made telling him to come up as it was not looking good. We were told that the next 12 hours were critical and that we would more than likely not be returning home with him, so to prepare for the worst. 

“Later that evening Harry was transferred to Stoke ICU, where he stayed for the next 10 days before being transferred back to a local hospital for a further five days. Whilst in ICU we just kept being told the next 12/24/48 hours were critical and still could not be told if he’d be saved. But after a few days he was responding well to the medication and he became more stable. 

Blew up like a balloon

“He blew up like a balloon due to all the fluids he had received and the rash was turning into large blisters, which mainly caused concern for his legs. His hands and feet were so cold to touch and had to be wrapped in rolls of cotton wool. Various people came to look at his legs and we were advised that there may be a chance that Harry would lose his legs due to how severe the damage was from the blisters that had now popped. 

“Eventually his legs scabbed over, the left worse than the right and covering the whole of the back of his calf. In our eyes it was not looking good as the scab was turning black. 

“After almost three weeks we thankfully returned home where a district nurse came out to see Harry and change the dressings on his legs every other day. This was horrendous at first as it was so painful for him and the screams are something I won’t forget.

Thriving and growing into a beautiful little boy

“Almost four months down the line his weekly hospital appointments and regular district nurse appointments have got less and less and apart from some scars Harry is thriving and growing into a beautiful little boy. He has beaten the odds and fought every battle thrown at him since he was born.

“The doctors and nurses kept praising our quick reaction in noticing symptoms and calling 999 but really the medical teams at Sandwell Hospital and ICU based at Stoke Hospital are the real reason Harry is still with us today and in one piece.

“To all parents out there, please trust your gut instinct and even if it is just a tummy ache take your little one to the doctors or hospital to get them checked over, because if we had put Harry to bed that night thinking he just had tummy ache he would not be here today.

“Once everything calms down and your child is home, even if they have recovered well, it all comes back to you as you now have time to sit and think about it. I don’t sleep much as I tend to think about it in the night when everyone is asleep. My advice would be to talk to your family and friends but if needed contact your GP.”

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