Harry's story

7th April 2007

When Amanda Keys' son Harry became ill when he was just 11 days old she was told it was probably just colic. It wasn't, Harry was seriously ill with meningitis

Harry

"Harry was born on March 27, 2007. When he was 11 days old he became poorly. He was, not feeding properly and very lethargic. I kept my eye on him for the day and wasn't overly concerned, thinking he was probably just having an 'off' day.

"That evening, he was really miserable. Crying, as if in pain, and not really waking. I telephoned the out of hours health visitor, who said that he probably had trapped wind and not to worry. A short while later enough was enough, so my husband, at the time, took him to the out of hours doctor whilst I stayed at home with my daughter. They returned home a short while later, after the doctor said it was probably colic."

Still not right

"The next day, Harry seemed to have perked up a little. He was feeding, maybe not as much as normal, but more than the night before. He was awake at his usual times and I felt reassured. However, at about 6pm, he again started whimpering and was very lethargic. I was incredibly worried again but my husband said we had been told it was colic, which usually started in the evenings, so I shouldn't worry.

"My friend, Becky, came round and said he didn't look right and sympathised with me. I then made the decision to call the out of hours doctor again. This time I went with my husband and the doctor looked at Harry and said he wanted us to take him to hospital. We were both surprised as we thought we'd have just come away with some antibiotics for him."

Off to hospital

"At 11pm we went to the hospital and saw Dr Chris Williams, after jumping a very long queue of patients. We were both still unaware as to what may be affecting Harry. We were told they wanted to do a lumbar puncture on Harry (a sample of fluid from his spine) to rule out meningitis and they wanted to start antibiotics immediately as a precaution. At this point we still thought it could not possibly be meningitis.

"At 12.15am we were told by Dr Williams that Harry did have a strain of meningitis and the next 48 hours were crucial. My heart sank, panic set in as I thought I was going to watch my boy die. I stayed at hospital with him. He was now 13 days old and very poorly. I cried solidly for 24 hours and had eyes the size of golf balls.

"As a result of the fantastic treatment he received from St Mary's Hospital in Portsmouth, the fantastic nurses who gave him the medication every four hours and our superhero doctor, Dr Chris Williams, who ensured Harry had antibiotics within 20 minutes of being at the hospital, Harry is now a very healthy three-year-old who runs his mummy ragged."

Home at last

"We had to stay in hospital a week and he had to have medication administered at home for a week too, by the wonderful community nurse team.

"Harry had the group b strep strain of meningitis, caught from me during pregnancy. I was given antibiotics during labour to prevent an infection being passed to him, however, I was only in labour for four hours and the umbilical cord had a knot in it so Harry wasn't getting the protection he needed. I am so very thankful to Dr Chris Williams, who will always be regarded as our superhero. Harry has never had any other health complications as a result of his meningitis. We are therefore very lucky."

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