Lily H's story

3rd February 2016

Parents, Rickie and Carly Hicks, of Hertfordshire, were enjoying valuable family time when their six-month-old daughter, Lily, suddenly became ill with fever-like symptoms and breathing with a moan

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Concerned, they rushed her to A & E but were shortly sent home after Lily was diagnosed with a virus. However as her condition deteriorated they trusted their instincts and called for an ambulance to get a second opinion.

Mum, Carly, tells their story here.

“Our daughter, Lily, was a happy and healthy six-month-old baby when our world was turned upside down within the blink of an eye when she caught a life threatening type of meningitis - meningococcal group B meningitis and septicaemia.”

“This all started when we were enjoying a perfectly normal family day out just like everybody else does with no concerns or worries at all, until Lily started to behave strange. She was shivering but with a very high temperature and breathing with a moan.”

“Frightened that something was wrong we decided to go to the nearest A&E, which was Watford General. During our time there Lily deteriorated, but despite this we were sent home at 2:30am after being told she had a virus which could possibly be chickenpox.”

Lily was so ill – they were doing all they could to save her life

“By the morning Lily was covered in spots, which within 20 minutes this erupted to an angry purple rash covering her from head to toe and she was drifting in and out of sleep.”

“As a precaution we decided to call an ambulance. On arrival the paramedics were very concerned and gave her a Benzylpenicillin injection. They rushed her straight to Barnet A&E, where they were expecting us, and within minutes she was on a bed with a team of eight doctors and nurses pumping her with all sorts of fluids and antibiotics. She had catheters and lines being placed all over her body.”

“Lily was so ill by this stage that in order to save her life they had to sedate her and put her on a ventilator while they waited for the CATS team to come and transfer her to intensive care at Great Ormand Street Hospital.”

“No matter how strong you think you are or what you have had to deal with in life nobody can prepare you to hear a specialist doctor tell you that your baby girl might die right here on this table.”

“Within a heartbeat our world stood still and within a very loud busy room all we could see through our blurred vision was this doctor frantically trying to stabilise our baby girl in order to transfer her to intensive care.”

We lost all sense of reality

“Not knowing how to react or what to do each minute felt like an hour but as each minute passed we held on to the thought that our baby girl was still alive whilst trying to ignore the fact that any second now we could be told the worst news we could ever possibly imagine."

“Lily was successfully transferred to Great Ormond Street where she spent five days in intensive care, heavily sedated with a machine breathing for her. These were the longest five days of our lives and we lost all sense of reality.”

“No words can express the feeling we experienced when on the fifth day we heard our baby girl cry as she started to come round and started breathing for herself.”

Lily would not be here today

“There is no doubt in our mind how close Lily came to losing her life and we know that if we had decided to accept Watford's diagnosis as our final decision and didn't call an ambulance, Lily would not be here today.”

“It is with special thanks to the knowledge, fast thinking and precision timing from the amazing ambulance team, Barnet A&E, CATS & Great Ormand Street Hospital that this story has a happy ending.”

“We are so happy to announce that, apart from a few minor complications, our beautiful baby girl Lily has bounced back from this horrible illness and is happy and well, smiling away like nothing has happened!”

If your child is ill and getting worse, trust your instincts and get medical help immediately. If you have had medical advice and are still worried, get medical help again.

Awareness can save lives – make sure you’re vigilant of all the signs and symptoms. Find them here, download our FREE mobile app or order your FREE credit-card sized signs and symptoms card

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Many people wrongly believe that a rash always appears with meningitis. A rash is a sign of blood poisoning and it can be one of the last symptoms to be displayed. Know the symptoms and trust your instincts. Find out more