A father's poem to honour son Callum who died from meningitis

9th March 2018

Neil wrote this poem as a tribute to his son Callum on the 4th anniversary of his passing. In doing this he wanted to highlight what he and the family have been through and their experience of meningitis. Callum was 14 years old when he died at Sheffield Children’s Hospital


Neil says, “As a family we were and still are totally devastated, it has affected so many people's lives who knew him.”

Got to take Callum to hospital, he's really sick 
Get the paramedics, or take him there quick.
In their hands we have complete trust;
The best care available, this is a must

Initial diagnosis of meningitis doesn't sound too good 
But we've faith in the doctors like everyone should.
24 hours on antibiotics, he's a different lad,
Sat up in bed smiling and talking, we're ever so glad.

Along comes a doctor, she's not seen him before.
Test results / notes she decides to ignore.
"It's an ear infection, he needs an op;
After its done the antibiotics can stop."

Sent home the next day in pain but trying to be strong;
How relieved we were the initial diagnosis was wrong 
For 2 days laid on sofa crying in pain;
What can I do? It's driving me insane.

Next morning Callum was not really not well
Something's not right, as a parent can tell.
Called the paramedics, they arrived quick but it seemed so long 
The look on their faces, I knew something was wrong.

In the ambulance, blue lights flashing siren loud and shrill
On arrival tests were done, we are told Callum's critically ill.
Transferring him to Sheffield, we can't do anything for him here 
Is this a nightmare? I'm scared and frightened so full of fear.

The surgeons are waiting to operate on his brain 
To reduce the swelling, they've put in a drain.
The next time we see him he's in intensive care 
The whole of the family can't believe he's there.

In a life support in ICU for 91 days
His mum will not leave him, by his bedside she stays.
Doctor after doctor try everything they know 
Unfortunately for Callum the infection wont go.

Doctors advise us to turn off his life support;
As family the decision is made we are absolutely distraught.
Callum lasted 30 hours before he took his last breath
Tears flowed like a river because of his death.

Several months later, thinking Callum's care was not right
We complained to the hospital, for answers we would fight.
They did an investigation and sent us a report 
They admitted so many failings just as we thought.

We contacted a solicitor to see how legally we stood 
She was shocked by the events and said Callum's care was not good 
She took on our case - "they can't get away with this"
She left no stone unturned, nothing did she miss.

A letter arrived from NHS solicitors out of the blue
In it they confirmed everything that we knew 
They admitted killing my beautiful son 
Our legal battle we'd eventually won.

A letter of apology from the hospital we got 
And in it a statement that made us say "...What?"
If Callum's antibiotics hadn't been stopped on the Monday 
He would gone on to make a full recovery.

So the doctor who decided Callum was ill because of his ear 
Took his life in his 14th year
By stopping the antibiotics it cost him his life 
She may as well stabbed him with a knife.

The CPS say she's done nothing to answer for 
But we will keep on fighting harder than before.
Soon there will be an inquest and we pray decisions are made 
That finally gets justice for Callum Blade.

Meningitis Now fundraising - Time 4 Tea

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