Leo W’s Story

20th January 2023

When baby Leo became seriously unwell after he was born it was his Mum Rachel’s first aid knowledge that got him the help he needed

Leo's bacterial meningitis story

Taking your baby home for the first time is a daunting prospect for any parent but for Rachel and Robert their first few hours with their newborn were especially worrying when Leo developed signs of meningitis and septicaemia. 

“I was due to be induced and, due to Covid, they asked me to go in on the Saturday morning to do a Covid test. I did it and thought while I was there I would go on the monitors and get checked as I hadn’t felt the baby move much. I went up and they said we need to start you off today. They did and after a long 28 hours in labour I needed a c-section. I had it and the next day I noticed my son Leo didn’t cry or like the light on. He also kept jumping. I mentioned it to my midwife who said it was fine and asked me, “well what would you do if you had been in the womb for nine months?” so I didn’t say anymore.

High-pitched scream

“My partner had an hour with us and after that we were released. When we got home Leo wouldn’t settle. He was screaming, had cold hands and feet and wouldn’t feed. He didn’t want to be put down anywhere. My partner had sent me to bed as I felt unwell. I fell asleep and was woken by a high-pitched scream. 

“I went into the kitchen where Rob was holding Leo. By this point it looked like Leo had a bruise around his mouth and he was floppy. Robert said he would phone 111. I checked Leo’s temperature and it was very low. At the same time he vomited and had diarrhoea. I told Robert to hang up on 111 (we were still waiting) and phone 999. He did and explained Leo’s symptoms. From a first aid course I did I said, “Rob, tell them I think its meningitis.”

“Within minutes Karly the paramedic came in a car, checked Leo over and phoned in for an ambulance to come and get him. Robert wasn’t allowed to come with us due to Covid rules.

Group B Strep Meningitis 

“Leo was given numerous lumbar punctures, a strong anti-biotic, and gentamicin antibiotics to fight it off. They told us it was Group B Strep meningitis and sepsis. 

“I then took ill with sepsis and was put on the maternity ward for a week whilst Leo was on the children’s ward in RVI Great North Children’s Hospital for a fortnight. I was allowed one hour a day with him. 

“We were discharged and had one follow up when Leo was four months old.

Lights up any room

“Leo is now nearly two. We were told Leo could be blind or deaf or have delays so we haven’t enjoyed being parents as we have been terrified. I feel we were just left alone.

“I ended up with PTSD and was incredibly low however, Leo lights up any room. His immune system is low and he has been in hospital 14 times since October but he is so kind, mischievous and happy. He loves stacking blocks, is Cocomelon mad and is starting playgroup soon. 

“My message to other parents would be, if you have any concerns get your child checked. Rob is also signing up to a first aid course now as I was told it saved Leo’s life getting him straight into hospital."

  • Poppy F bacterial meningitis case study

    Poppy F's story

    All the medical professionals told us she would not have survived if we had waited at home for this rash

  • Beth S meningitis case study - Riley

    Beth S's story

    If Riley had not had 10 days of antibiotics prior to his diagnosis of bacterial meningitis for a UTI, he may not be here today

  • Grace C meningitis case study

    Grace C's story

    After blood tests and a lumbar puncture, we were told it was bacterial meningitis. Our world fell apart

  • Lennon B's pneumococcal meningitis case study

    Lennon B's story

    That night was probably the scariest night of our lives. We didn’t for a second leave his side. It felt like I watched his every breath